Cheese, Tourists, and Red Pandas in the Nepal Himalayas

Authors

  • PRALAD B. YONZON,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Wildlife University of Maine Orono, Maine 04469, U.S.A.
      *Correspondence should be addressed to this author. Present affiliation: Nepal Conservation Training and Research Institute, King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation Present address G.P.O. Box 2448 Kathmandu, Nepal
    Search for more papers by this author
  • MALCOLM L. HUNTER JR.

    1. Department of Wildlife University of Maine Orono, Maine 04469, U.S.A.
    Search for more papers by this author

*Correspondence should be addressed to this author. Present affiliation: Nepal Conservation Training and Research Institute, King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation Present address G.P.O. Box 2448 Kathmandu, Nepal

Abstract

Abstract: Langtang National Park in the Nepal Himalayas provides resources for about 30,000 people living in and around the park The park is the site of two cheese factories that produce 14,000 kg of cheese per year for marketing in Kathmandu The factories collect about 140,000 liters of milk annually and use well over 100,000 kg of fuel wood to process the milk into cheese. Loans and one-year advance payments encourage farmers to maintain large herds of chauri (a yak-cattle hybrid), and in many areas overgrazing has resulted The presence in the area of large herds of chauri, their herders, and dogs has led to the death of many red pandas, a species that is probably on the verge of extinction in Langtang. It is estimated that there are fewer than 40 red pandas and these are isolated in four or more populations. Their fecundity is low and mortality is high. This problem might be solved by reducing cheese production and restricting the number of chauri while commensurately increasing the price of cheese so that farmers’income from milk could remain the same. Current cheese prices are already too high for Nepali consumers (US $4.30/kg), but cheap by the standards of the Western tourists who are the sole market. Thus, increasing prices would have little impact on the cheese market, but could be translated into a substantial benefit for the farmers, whose use of grazing lands must ultimately be sustainable, and for the red pandas and other wildlife that must share the mountain landscapes with the farmers.

Abstract

Resumen: El Parque Nacional Langtang en las Himalayas-Nepal provee de recursos a 30,000 personas que viven dentro o alrededor del parque y es la ubicación de dos fábricas de queso con una producción de 14,000 kg. anuales para vender en Kathmandu Las fábricas colectan casi 140,000 litros de leche al año y utilizan mds de 100,000 kg de madera para transformar la leche en queso. Préstamos y pagos con un año de adelanto estimulan a los campesinos a mantener grandes manadas de chauri (un hibrido de ganado vacuno y yak) y en muchas áreas esto ha ocasionado el sobrepastoreo. La presencia de grandes manadas de chauri, los pastores y Los perros han ocasionado la muerte de muchos pandas rojos, una especie que probablemente esté a punto de extinguirse en el área de Langtang. Se estima que bay ménos de 40 pandas rojos y que étos estan aislados en cuatro o más poblaciones. Su fecundidad es baja y su mortalida es alta Este problema podría ser resuelto reduciendo la producción de queso, restringiendo el número de chauri, e incrementando el precio del queso de tal manera que el ingreso que reciban los campesinos por la leche sea el mismo. El precio actual del queso es ya muy alto para los consumidores de Nepal ($4.30/kg en dólares americanos), pero bajo para el común de los turistas quienes son el único mercado. Asi el incremento en el precio del queso tendha poco impacto en el mercado, pero podria traducirse en un beneficio substancial para los campesinos, cuyo uso de las timas de pastoreo debe al final ser sustentable, y para los pandas rojos y la vida silvestre que deberán compartir las montañas con los campesinos.

Ancillary