SES Inspirational Explorer 2016 Roshan Kumar Thakur and his team returned safely to Kathmandu just before Christmas having completed his expedition along 400 km of relatively unexplored elephant corridors in Nepal. As well as carrying out an education programme on elephant behaviour and movement patterns, the team also undertook a detailed biodiversity study. They are now busy disseminating a mass of data collected in the field, but we’ll look forward to sharing news in due course. Here is a short summary from Roshan:
During forty days we followed the path of elephants across three major rivers (Bagmati, Kamala, Koshi) in the Central and Eastern lowlands of Nepal. Those rivers play an important role in elephant conservation (bottleneck effect). We conducted the conservation program in 7 districts in order to reduce conflict between the local population and elephants. We hold our program in schools and at public meeting places. It was not always easy to get open ears from local communities. However, the positive feedback and impression outweighed the difficulties and we collected over 2000 signatures on a petition to support our work.
Our research on biodiversity along the corridor revealed more than 100 bird species, 15 mammal species and 10 reptile species. Through footprints and interviews with locals, we got to know about the existence of the striped hyena - valuable information since it is classified as “near threatened” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and protected by the government of Nepal. We are currently analyzing our research data as well as evaluating the conservation program.