Hemanta’s home in the wild

First published by Nepali Times

One of Nepal’s foremost tiger and rhino conservationist, Hemanta Mishra began his career in 1967 as part of the government’s pioneering team that created Chitwan National Park in 1973. He then went on to help establish a network of protected areas in the Tarai and the Himalayas. In 1987, the native of Kupondole was awarded the prestigious J Paul Getty Conservation Prize for his outstanding efforts in protecting the country’s endangered species.

Mishra, who has a PhD in natural resource management from the University of Edinburgh, joined the World Bank in Washington DC as an environmental specialist in 1992. A decade later, he moved to Manila to work with the Asian Development Bank. He also did a teaching stint at George Mason University in DC. The author of The Soul of the Rhino (2008) and The Bones of the Tiger (2010), Hemanta’s next book, Nepal’s Chitwan National Park – a Hand Book, is scheduled for publication in April.

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Working elephants rise up, you have nothing to lose but your chains

First published by Nepali Times

Man Kali is a 35-year-old working elephant in Chitwan. She and her two off-spring, eight-year old Prakriti Kali and seven-month old Hem Gaj, recently became Nepal’s first working elephants to be rehabilitated in a chain-free pen.

The enclosure in Chitwan houses six elephants, ranging in age from seven months to over 70. All of the pachyderms here used to be chained with their front legs hobbled together, preventing natural posturing or healthy physical activity. The corral also had a fence that administered a mild electric shock upon contact. It has since been replaced with a solar-powered fence that transmits a clicking sound. The elephants naturally avoid the fence because their ears are so sensitive.

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Blood bricks

First published by Nepali Times

A network of social workers, environmentalists, child rights and animal rights advocates who form the BrickClean Network (BCN) have termed traditional bricks ‘Blood Bricks’. They say the industry is one of Nepal’s ‘dirtiest little secrets’ and are lobbying responsible citizens to opt for clean and green bricks.

The kilns exploit the most desperate people, thousands of children mould bricks or work as donkey handlers. “Each time I visit a brick factory I am outraged,” says Pramada Shah, activist with Animal Nepal. “The mules and donkeys are almost always overloaded, underfed, and made to work even when they are sick or pregnant.”

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An elephant is not a machine

First published by Protect all Wildlife

A very important report by Animal Nepal looking at Elephant trekking in Nepal. Its results show the conditions that Elephants must endure for the Elephant trekking business – and has relevance to all countries that practice Elephant trekking. Care for the Wild part-funded this report. Take a look below and click on the links to read the full report.

Animal Nepal published the important outcomes of a detailed survey into the welfare conditions of safari Elephants in Sauraha, Chitwan, called An Elephant Is Not A Machine. The survey of 42 privately owned ‘safari Elephant’ in Sauraha learns that their welfare is greatly compromised.

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Blaming it on the birds is foul

First published by The Kathmandu Post

Animal Nepal’s animal sanctuary is located on the banks of Bagmati River, at Chobar. Our neighbour is a makeshift farm rearing pigs and ducks. A little further away there are three pig farms which also farm ducks or chicken. The animals either roam freely in a heavily contaminated area or are kept in extremely dirty sheds. The question in our view is not if bird and swine flu will hit these farms, but when.

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Through our eyes

First published by Nepali Times

Just a few minutes into Narbahadur’s film the audience gasps. After four days of walking the 18-year-old former child soldier arrives home in a remote part of Humla district. He has warned the viewers: ‘There is nothing in my village.’ But they are unprepared for the images of grinding poverty in the young filmmaker’s home: malnourished sisters swatting flies, an emaciated mother, and his grey-haired father, a blacksmith who is going blind.

Narbahadur’s film, My Sun Rise, is part of the Through Our Eyes trilogy produced by three teenagers who joined the Maoists when they were only twelve. Like Narbahadur (back centre, pic), Sukmaya (centre) comes from a Dalit background, and as a child was painfully aware of the fact that she was ‘at the bottom and always the last’.

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