Greater one horned rhino and Bengal Tiger in Nepal

ZSL has a long conservation history in Nepal, with a focus on the endangered Greater one horned rhino and Bengal tiger in particular, as well as other species, that are threated by the effects of a growing human population and poaching. We are currently working in four primary areas, Chitwan National Park, Bardia national park, Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve and Parsa Wildlife Reserve. We have created an anti-poaching taskforce, work with local communities to get them involved in protecting their large mammals, and monitor these animals long-term to understand better how to protect them.

Why we are there

Growing human wildlife conflict, ever increasing pressure from the local communities for natural resources and agricultural land, lack of capacity and education has had a serious impact on the population of tigers, rhinos and other endangered species in the region.  A burgeoning human population and accompanying habitat loss, has led to escalating human-wildlife conflict in the region. Poaching for the lucrative market for rhino, elephant and tiger body parts is also a major threat. There is an urgent need to find our more about these threats and to expand the projects working to mitigate them.

Greater one horned rhino

ZSL’s main project in Nepal is currently the conservation of the Greater One Horned rhino, which are restricted to small protected areas in north-eastern India and Nepal. Our work has caused the numbers of rhino in Chitwan National Park to increase from a low of 100 animals in the late 1960’s to 544 in 2000. This allowed us to carry out translocations to tother national parks to build up new populations there, Bardia national park and Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve.

Chitwan National Park Anti-Poaching

Poaching of large mammals for body parts to sell on the international market is a serious threat to these magnificent species, despite the bans on trade of these items under CITES. The intensive poaching-monitoring project, carried out by ZSL, the National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC) and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC) was extremely effective in halting the poaching of rhinos. Using this project as a model, ZSL is now assisting NTNC and DNPWC with strengthening anti-poaching measures with the creation of an Anti poaching Task Force (APTF) to guard the rhino and tiger in Chitwan’s National Park.

Tigers in Parsa Wildlife Reserve

The ‘Chitwan-Parsa tiger complex’ (made up to Chitwan National Park and Parsa Wildlife Reserve) contains nearly 2000 km2 of contiguous tiger habitat and is one of the highest priority landscapes for conservation in Nepal. It is home to nearly 500 rhinos and 135 breeding tigers. From 2013, ZSL will be working to monitor the these animals to better understand how to protect them from threats through community projects and conservation capacity building.

Community based education

ZSL and Nepalese partner National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC) has been pioneering the use of innovative methods to reach out to local communities and spread the conservation message in Nepal. From 2013, we will also be starting a new project to involve communities in Bardia national Park. Involving communities in addressing the immediate threats to wildlife by mitigating human wildlife conflict and improving the well-being of the local communities.

Other projects

Nepal Red Lists

As part of our work in Nepal, ZSL has been compiling a report, ‘Status of Mammals of Nepal’, a comprehensive list of mammals that occur in Nepal, with an evaluation of the status of each species, the specific threats to it and conservation recommendations to protect it. This work will contribute to the IUCN Red List and will continue with the Birds of Nepal. It will be an important tool for the Nepalese Government to assess their progress in protecting the country’s biodiversity. 


As well as the large mammals, ZSL is working to reduce the damaging effects of agricultural drugs on the vulture populations in Nepal, as part of out Indian Vulture work.

EDGE Fellow

Ambika Khatiwada is working on the conservation of Chinese Pangolin in Nangkholyang and Dokhu villages of Taplejung District, Nepal. This once common mammal has been hunted almost to extinction, and is number 91 on the EDGE mammals list.


Key species

Greater One Horned Rhino, vulnerable to extinction

Bengal Tigers, endangered

Asian Elephant, endangered

Chinese Pangolin, Endangered 

People involved

Gitanjali Bhattacharya manages ZSL’s work in Nepal

Ambika Khatiwada is the EDGE fellow working on the Chinese pangolin

Partners and sponsors

Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC); National Trust for Nature Conservation

Kindly funded by: USFWS Rhino-Tiger fund; Darwin initiative