Many villagers did not know that pangolin population was dying out until recently, said Bhakta Bahadur Shrestha, district chairman of Federation of Community Forestry Users Nepal. “More people are aware of that fact these days. And they have made a point of saving the pangolin population,” he added.
According to a recent study conducted by the World Wildlife Fund, there are around 50 pangolin habitats in Dhading.
“Pangolins were spotted in many community forests, including Aapgauri, Kaseri, Thulokhoriya, Khurpakhola, Rijalthok, Chichandanda, Basaha, Jalbire and Mahakali. These habitats need protection,” wildlife expert Tulsi Laxmi Suwal said.
Sabita Gurung, of the Central Department of Zoology in Tribhuvan University, advised setting up camera traps at pangolin habitats as a way to monitor and to deter poachers.
Despite the conservation effort at the local level, pangolin poaching is still common in Dhading and other parts of the country. Just last month, Dhading police had arrested a woman with pangolin scales.
Prem Bahadur Singh, of Rijalthok village, said killing pangolins for their meat is also hindering their conservation effort. “Our effort alone will not be enough to protect these animals. The local administration should also join in.”