Ban Ko Katha Bolchha Sarangi: Conservation through music in Nepal
Published February 2020
Across 2016-17, Kumar Paudel, co-founder of Greenhood Nepal, spent time interviewing individuals in Nepal who were in prison for IWT offences. He discovered that many of the people he spoke to were unaware of the potential consequences of engaging in wildlife crime and expressed regret at their actions. Hearing the hardship these people faced, particularly the impact it had on their families, motivated Greenhood Nepal to create a series of songs telling the stories of those arrested for IWT. The songs have been performed in communities as well as broadcast on community radio stations and via social media, reaching around 10 million people.
The poaching and wildlife trade problem
Species affected Asian Elephant Elephas maximus , Asiatic Black Bear Ursus thibetanus , Bengal Tiger Panthera tigris tigris , Chinese Pangolin Manis pentadactyla , Greater One-horned Rhino Rhinoceros unicornis , Himalayan black bear Ursus thibetanus laniger , Leopard Panthera pardus , Musk deer Moschus , Red panda Ailurus fulgens , Snow Leopard Panthera unciaProducts in trade
Tiger pelts and bones, Rhino horn, Leopard pelts and bones, Red panda pelts, Pangolin scales, bear bile, Musk deer pod, Elephant ivory, live birds and whole plants.
Overview of the problem
Interviews with individuals in prison in Nepal for engaging in IWT showed that the majority of poaching is being carried out by poor, rural and largely marginalised indigenous communities. The primary motive of those engaging in IWT is the desire to earn extra money, with some also seeing it as a less tiring job to alternative income sources. Another common motive is peer pressure, however only a small proportion of individuals rely on poaching as their primary livelihood activity.
The anti-IWT initiative
Greenhood Nepal developed the project as a response to interviews they carried out with over 100 people who had been arrested for wildlife crimes in Nepal, mainly those involved in rhino, tiger and red panda poaching.
During these interviews they discovered that the majority of the respondents had very little understanding of the punishments and sanctions of the crimes that they committed and expressed regret at their actions. Many were serving lengthy sentences or had been given fines they couldn’t afford to pay, resulting in hardship for them and their families.
As a result, Greenhood set out to share stories about the difficulties faced by those arrested for wildlife crime in Nepal, and to highlight the consequences of illegal wildlife trade for both humans and wildlife. This collection of stories, called Ban Ko Katha (stories of forest), are performed as songs using the traditional music of the Gandharva indigenous people. The songs have been performed live to communities, broadcast through community radio stations and shared widely on social media.
Strengthening disincentives for illegal behaviour
Improving education and awareness
Organisers, donors and partners
Greenhood Nepal, Hariyo Ban Program funded by USAID and Lancaster Environment Centre
For further information contact Kumar Paudel (email@example.com).