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Roaming the rugged montane landscape of Central Asia, the elusive Snow Leopard requires vast Himalayan terrain in which to survive. In order to provide refuge for the Snow Leopard and a plethora of other threatened species including Red Pandas, Chinese and Indian Pangolins, conservation efforts need to be scaled up and provide connectivity of habitats within this biodiverse environment.
Rainforest Trust and partner Koshi Tappu Kanchenjunga Biodiversity Education Livelihood Terra-Studio (KTK-BELT) seek $248,461 to create the 176,630-acre Lumbasumba Conservation Area, which is the crucial link in a mosaic of protected areas across southern China, Nepal and India spanning 14,549,601 acres. Rainforest Trust is currently working in an adjacent site to protect vital montane forest habitat, and the proposed Lumbasumba Conservation Area builds on these multiple efforts in the region.
It is urgent that this area be protected, as a major new road is being constructed to link China and India. The first protective step will be to achieve local designation from the District Forest Office which will immediately halt illegal logging and mitigate further deforestation. Once this initial work is completed, national declaration of the Lumbasumba Conservation Area will greatly strengthen protective measures, especially in terms of prohibiting extractive activity, poaching and disturbance of wildlife.
Lumbasumba Pass, Nepal
Key Species (Based on IUCN Red List)
Chinese Pangolin (CR), Spikenard (Nardostachys grandiflora – CR), Red Panda (EN), Indian Pangolin (EN), Himalayan Musk Deer (EN), Nepalese Field Mouse (EN), Atis Root (Aconitum heterophyllum – EN), East Himalayan Yew (EN), Saker Falcon (EN), Snow Leopard (VU), Asiatic Black Bear (VU), Clouded Leopard (VU)
Temperate broadleaf and mixed forest, alpine shrub and grassland, conifer forest, and riparian lowland valley
Poaching, road construction
Create Lumbasumba Conservation Area
Koshi Tappu Kanchenjunga Biodiversity Education Livelihood Terra-Studio (KTK-BELT)
Total Cost of Project
Cost per Acre
This incredible landscape is a mega-hotspot of biodiversity, as it was only recently opened to the outside world due to a Maoist insurgency.
Containing diverse microclimates and altitudinal gradients, the eastern Himalayas are home to a wealth of rare species, many of which are endemic to the region. With spotted white fur that helps them blend into their frosty environment and remain camouflaged while hunting, the Snow Leopards which prowl these mountains are some of the most elusive big cats in the world. Endangered Red Pandas are becoming increasingly rare as their habitat continues to be fragmented, and the highly threatened Chinese and Indian Pangolins desperately need refuge from poaching, as pangolins are currently the most trafficked mammals in the world. Recent inventories in nearby Makalu-Barun National Park have revealed 315 species of butterflies, 43 reptile species, 16 species of amphibians and 78 fish species. Given that the elevations and forest types are similar, future studies will likely offer a similar multitude of species existing within the proposed Lumbasumba Conservation Area
Poaching and road construction are causing enormous destruction of critical habitat for endangered species within the Lumbasumba Pass.
Hunting is of particular concern, as numerous species migrate openly in this unprotected zone between two national protected areas. Road construction and land grabbing have destabilized this sensitive region, leading to exorbitant land prices and demand for plywood and other unsustainably (and illegally) harvested forest products.
More than 90 percent of the local people are indigenous and belong to the Bhote minority, one of the most disadvantaged ethnic communities in Nepal.
They practice Bon and Buddhist faiths, which espouse respect and interdependency with nature. The last census revealed that only about 5,000 indigenous people live in and around the proposed Lumbasumba Conservation Area. These groups are critical to safeguarding the new protected area, as they have been stewards of this land for centuries and possess a rich knowledge of the local biodiversity.
Thanks to the generous support of our Board members and other supporters who cover all of our operating expenses, Rainforest Trust is able to allocate 100% of donations to conservation action. No board member receives financial benefit and our staff salaries are modest.
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