Nepalese conservationist Sonam Lama has received a £40,000 Whitley Award from the British conservation organization Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN). The prestigious award is regarded as the “Oscar” of nature conservation.
Reforestation and a community-led anti-poaching unit
Sonam Lama works for the Red Panda Network and has trained 100 people to help restore Red Panda habitat. He is also strengthening ecotourism in the region to provide income for the local population.
“With the fund from Whitley Fund for Nature, I would be addressing the looming threats of habitat fragmentation and illegal trade and poaching of endangered Red Pandas through reforestation campaigns that will engage and employ rural communities, especially women and youth”, says Sonam Lama. He aims “providing livelihood support through forest conservation nurseries and local green jobs with tree planting campaigns”.
These efforts are intended to create a wildlife corridor linking the habitat of the Red Panda and other endangered wildlife in eastern Nepal. In addition, Lama plans community-led-anti-poaching units in districts which report the highest cases of illegal Red Panda pelt seizure and campaigns to raise awareness for the Red Panda.
About Sonam Lama
Sonam Lama has a Masters in International Nature Conservation from Lincoln University, New Zealand and Göttingen University, Germany with scholarship support from WWF and Wildlife Conservation Network.
He is also known as one of the hosts of Red Panda Network’s YouTube series Habre Guff-Gaff about Red Panda conservation.