Unveiling Perspectives, Fostering Conservation: A Bottom-Up Approach to Combatting Illegal Wildlife Trade in Nepal

About this project

Project description

The project is focused on addressing the persistent wildlife conservation challenge of Illegal Wildlife Trade. Focused on marginalized communities engaged in rhino poaching in Nepal, the study employs in-depth and close-ended surveys to comprehend the motivations and challenges faced by these communities. Beyond mere understanding, the project aspires to forge a bridge between law enforcement and community dynamics, aiming to incorporate community-driven conservation strategies. By decoding the complexities of Illegal Wildlife Trade within the context of marginalized communities, the research endeavours to contribute to a holistic and sustainable framework for wildlife conservation in Nepal. It unfolds as a narrative that transcends statistics, emphasizing the need to empower local communities and cultivate a shared responsibility for preserving Nepal’s biodiversity, ultimately envisioning a future where the delicate balance between humanity and nature is not only preserved but strengthened.


The project will follow a first model trialled recently in a rural community near the border of Nepal and India by our industry partners, who have developed together with an under-privileged local community a plan to reduce illegal hunting of rhinos and replace the villa’s income with honey bee growing. This case study has been very successful and is leading to outstanding conservation outcomes and proposed alternative income for the villagers while enhancing conservation. The focus of the proposed study will be on large mammals, including rhinos, elephants and other species that are illegally poached. We will identify and analyse how alternative environmentally-friendly activities and sources of income, such as honey growing, can allow the community to be involved in conservation, economically and environmentally sustainable.

Information for applicants

Essential capabilities

Spatial analysis, field work, knowledge on large animals and field experience.

Desireable capabilities

Desirable capabilities: statistical analyses, work with communities, some knowledge in ecological economics or social sciences will be good.

Expected qualifications (Course/Degrees etc.)

Bachelor or BSc degree in biology or life sciences or geography or environmental economics, ecology, conservation, biodiversity. Preferably an Honours or Master degree too.

Candidate Discipline

The students will need a background in ecology, conservation and biodiversity. They should have some knowledge in statistics and spatial analysis, and preferably have used R and GIS.

Project supervisors

Principal supervisors

UQ Supervisor

Professor Salit Kark

School of Biological Sciences
IITD Supervisor

Dr Ajay Saini

Centre for Rural Development and Technology
External Supervisor

Dr Dibesh Karmacharya

Center for Molecular Dynamics Nepal (CMDN)