Conservation efforts, the world over, are dependent on the drive, support and capacity of local people. And empowering locals is critical to ongoing species protection.
Which is why WWF has taken a slightly different approach to conservation in the earthquake-ravaged Langtang National Park, in northern Nepal. WWF-Nepal has been collaborating with locals here since 2007 to protect biodiversity, control the wildlife trade, enhance livelihoods and sustain diverse cultures and traditions as residents manage the land, forest and water resources. But since the earthquake it’s been difficult for the communities to focus on environmental protection when they are struggling to secure the basics of food and shelter.
WWF's focus has expanded since the collapse of the tourism industry, thanks to the support of Intrepid Travel and the Intrepid Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that allows travellers to give back to the communities they visit.
With the support of the Intrepid Foundation, WWF is working in Langtang National Park to support rebuilding to safer, greener standards. We’re also exploring new sustainable trekking routes and helping locals to diversify their eco-tourism businesses. We hope this will bring long-term benefits to the Langtang communities and so minimise pressures on critical habitats and species
The Bottom Line
Langtang National Park is home to the musk deer, red panda, snow leopard, common leopard, Himalayan tahr and many other distinctive fauna and flora species. As the nearest Himalayan park from the capital city Kathmandu, it’s the third most popular trekking destination among Nepal's mountain protected areas.
The 2015 earthquake devastated much of the park, as well as its eco-tourism infrastructure. With Intrepid's help, WWF has been able to step up its activities to help the park and its people recover. After carrying out environmental assessments and inspecting damage to visitor infrastructure, we’re now working to rebuild the park for a sustainable future.
By helping to restore the region's economy, build livelihoods and disaster resilient communities, WWF and Intrepid Travel will empower locals to manage their land, forest and water resources well into the future.