Dr. Teri Allendorf is currently in Nepal, searching for signs of the critically endangered pygmy hog and working with local mammalogists.
Local people have been finding small nests made by some mammal species, using fronds (which you can see in the photo above). Forest guards showed Dr. Allendorf the types of places they find these nests.
If signs of pygmy hogs living in this area are found, it will be an important discovery. Currently, pygmy hogs are thought only to remain in one limited area in India, with none remaining in Nepal. However, because the hogs are still found in adjacent landscapes in India and the correct habitat types exist in the study areas in Nepal, the nests are worth looking at closely.
So far, we haven’t found any definitive signs of pygmy hogs. However, while looking for pygmy hogs, we did see a nice pangolin burrow, which is a species of conservation concern. There are many awareness programs about pangolin conservation in Nepal, so hopefully they will be a conservation success story.
The work in Nepal hasn’t always been easy… vehicles and sandy dry river beds don’t always mix well. Thanks to our partners Birendra and Dinesh for the help getting us out!
Hopefully more possible pygmy hog nests will be found so we can help identify whether they were made by pygmy hogs, or some other mammal. If they are made by pygmy hogs, it would be exciting indeed! But as of now, the team has seen no definitive signs in this part of Nepal yet.
Dr. Allendorf is meeting with many interesting and impactful people during the search for pygmy hogs, as she works closely with communities in Nepal.
We’re so happy to partner with Dr. Dinesh Neupane, an independent researcher. His expertise in Nepal’s wildlife has been such a great contribution. See a short interview with Dinesh on Facebook.
The team also had the pleasure to meet Murti Devi Chaudhary, chair of the Mahila Jhatkhanda Community Forest in Saptari District, where the pygmy hog search is taking place. Women’s community forestry groups have a strong presence in Nepal but often receive less support and recognition.
While in Nepal, Dr. Allendorf is also working to connect communities and explore the possibility of a community-conserved wildlife corridor in the area. This is a continuation of the work Dr. Allendorf and Community Conservation’s late Founder Rob Horwich started years ago.
Stay tuned for more about the corridor in our next update!