On Sunday 23 October 2016, the Regional Livestock Development Centre, Khangma and Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary, Phongmey in conjunction with the Merak herder community launched a new project at Merak village. The project objective is to improve herder livelihoods, rangeland management and red panda habitat in winter grazing areas of Cheabuling and Sheytemi, Merak Geog. The chief guest was Dasho Sherab Zangpo of Sakteng Dungkhag. Other local guests included the newly elected Gup and Mangmi of Merak, and Regional heads of Trashigang Department of Livestock, and Merak school principal. Overseas guests included Dr Joanne Millar and Dr Karma Tenzing from Charles Sturt University, Australia.
The project is funded by The Darwin Initiative Fund, UK and will run from 2016 to 2019.
The lead agencies in Bhutan are the Department of Livestock and Department of Forests and Park Services, MOAF. Partner organisations are World Wildlife Fund Bhutan, Red Panda Network Nepal, and Australian Landcare International
The project activities and outcomes include;
- Herder group management and leadership training which will build long term capacity to manage environment programs
- Land rehabilitation and reforestation over 400hectares to control landslides and improve red panda habitat
- Improved livestock management through improved pasture and fodder trees.
- Biogas trials to reduce firewood consumption
- Red panda research and education to increase understanding of red panda status and conservation
-Submitted by: Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary
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