Rimung Tasso

THT Action Grant 2023

Project Name:

Empowering Communities through Ecotourism for Red Panda and Takin Conservation

Project Brief:

Red panda, Ailurus fulgens, and Mishmi Takin, Budorcas taxicolor taxicolor, are both listed as endangered under IUCN Red list of threatened species and Schedule I species under the Indian Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972. Manigaon, which is situated in Shi-yomi district, Arunachal Pradesh and is a part of Eastern Himalaya Global Biodiversity Hotspot, harbours suitable habitat for both the species. It is one of the crucial Red Panda and Takin habitats but remains one of the most under-developed areas due to its remote location. Apart from Red Pandas and Mishmi Takin, the landscape harbours some other threatened animals and bird species such as Clouded Leopard, Red Goral, Musk Deer, Asiatic Black Bear and pheasants like Tragopans and the Sclater’s Monal etc.

Majority of the community is highly dependent on forest resources due to lack of connectivity, education and job opportunities. Most of the hunted species are takin, musk deer, pheasants and other high-altitude species, with the Mishmi Takin being one of the most hunted animals, because of their enormous size and seasonal confluence in the area. Being a community forest, there is no influence of the forest department and thus the need of community-based conservation practices is of high urgency for such habitat and species.

Rimung Tasso’s project is designed around conservation of the Red Panda and Takin through conserving their habitats and reducing forest dependency of local communities on the nearby forest in Manigaon. Using responsible ecotourism as a tool, it focuses on capacity building, awareness and stewardship development to coexist with rare species like the Red Panda, Takin and other high-altitude species in the region. Responsible tourism model is crucial to uplift the economic status of the villagers in a sustainable way, as well as to set an example for other community members to follow and conserve their forest areas. Inclusive stakeholders and steering committee will be formed for long-term monitoring and evaluation of biodiversity and the activities at landscape level.

Project objectives:
  • Foundation building for community-based conservation through responsible ecotourism in the community forest of Manigaon
  • Strengthening of the ecotourism model through multi stakeholder partnership and sensitisation.
  • To ensure transparency and benefit sharing of model for efficient replicability and sustainability in the future.
Highlights from the field:
  • This project is ongoing