Nepal Country Director

Hem Sagar Baral has been involved in wildlife conservation for nearly three decades.

He studied at the Cardiff University, Wales and the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He received a PhD in Bird Ecology from the latter in the year 2001. He has been involved in wildlife conservation for nearly three decades popularising public engagement and appreciation of wildlife and has had a large contribution to growing charities like BirdLife in Nepal, Himalayan Nature and Nepalese Ornithological Union as the head of these organisations.

Since 2013, Hem has been working as the head of the Zoological Society of London Nepal office as the Country Director.

Hem has written several papers on biodiversity and wildlife –primarily on birds. He has authored and co-authored several books including Important Bird Areas of Nepal, The State of Nepal’s Birds, Birds of Nepal Field Guide in the Nepali language. He had been instrumental in leading all the status assessments of Nepal’s birds. The last one was funded by ZSL and published in 2016 –a biblical work that took five years to complete.

Hem has set up Nepal’s first bird observatory, Kosi Bird Observatory in East Nepal close to Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve and has initiated Special Conservation Sites– an innovative participatory scheme to conserve Nepal’s original farmscape. He also initiated the world’s first community-managed vulture restaurant in 2006 and a tree protection campaign in the name of Trees for Tomorrow.

Hem set up Nepal’s premier eco-lodges Koshi Camp (east Nepal), Lumbini  Buddha Garden (central Nepal) and Sukla Phanta Wildlife Camp (far west Nepal) and provided services to several others. During his university years, he also worked extensively as an eco-tourism consultant, including Europe’s largest wildlife tour operator, Naturetrek (based in Hampshire, UK). Hem has had the pleasure of briefing his bird study and conservation work to HRH Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands in 1996 and HRH Princess Anne (UK) in 2005. He has guided President Jimmy Carter twice in April 2008, late Field Marshal Sir John Chapple UK since 1995, HRH Prince Henry of Wales, and several other dignitaries.

Hem has been also involved in many social charities but most important of all, he and his wife set up and ran Nepal’s only charity on autism – AutismCare Nepal in 2008.

Professional Accreditations 

  • BirdLife Partnership Award 2004
  • Whitley Award for Nature Conservation 2005
  • Young Scientist Award 2006
  • Nature Tourism Promotion Award 2008

Major Projects

  • Integrated Tiger Habitat Conservation Programme Phase II and III (>2 million Euro) 
  • UKAM grant on livelihood support and HWC reduction
  • Landscape level grant on illegal wildlife trade reduction (IWT) 
  • National park focused DI grant at Parsa for habitat management, livelihood and tourism promotion.