Developing conservation capacity in Nepal

Nepal is dominated by the Himalayan mountain range rising from the flat plains at sea level bordering India up to the Earth's highest point, Mount Everest.

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The Nepal Bird Watching Club (formed in 1982) evolved into Bird Conservation Nepal and became a BirdLife Affiliate in 2000. Despite being a relatively new organisation, they have made great progress towards identifying, monitoring and protecting the country's most threatened sites and species.
Diversity of landscapes contributes to Nepal supporting a disproportionate number of birds (almost 900 species) for its small size (147,181 sq km). Of these, 32 are globally threatened and one, the spiny babbler, is endemic. Nepal has four Endemic Bird Areas with 27 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) and a further five potential IBAs.
Of the 27 IBAs, 12 remain unprotected including important areas of subtropical broadleaved forests. Along with these forest types, BCN are working on the management and protection of wetlands and farmland.
The RSPB has supported BCN since 1999 and our input has steadily increased, offering a range of training, institutional development support and technical and managerial advice.


  • Strengthen BCN as a national environmental NGO
  • Support BCN presence at a national level and increase funding and membership
  • Assist with their environmental education programme
  • Help BCN to effectively protect Nepal's birds and their habitats
  • Help BCN save Nepal's vultures

Key Dates

  • Strategic Planning Workshop in Kathmandu (2001)
  • Published The State of Nepal's Bird (2004)
  • Published the Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Nepal book (2005)
  • Darwin funded wetland management project at Koshi Tappu (2006)
  • CEPF funded programme in Kanchenjunga and Mai Valley IBAs (2007)

Planned Work

BCN has grown rapidly since the turn of the millennium with income increasing eight-fold, employing around 20 employees working at six IBAs and linked to 10 Globally Threatened Species. RSPB will continue support to BCN for the foreseeable future.


A Maoist rebel insurgency started in 1996 resulted in heavy violence leaving many areas of the country inaccessible. This made the work of NGOs and Government very difficult outside of the Kathmandu valley. Thankfully, the tensions have subsided. In recent years, BCN have increased their scope of work winning support for several new projects
BCN has produced many publications in both English and Nepali language and their Globally Threatened Species Poster is the most widely circulated conservation poster in Nepal. 7,500 copies have been distributed to all the 75 districts of Nepal.
BCN has increased their work on globally threatened species including Gyps vultures, establishing diclofenac-free zones to ensure "clean" cows are available to feed to vultures. This involves working with local communities and pharmacists to replace diclofenac with the safe drug meloxicam and then caring for old cows donated by the communities until they die and can be fed to the vultures.

Species affected (not UK birds)

Nepal supports almost 900 bird species with 32 Globally Threatened and one endemic species. BCN with RSPB funding are currently working on Gyps vultures.


  • Bird Conservation Nepal


RSPB's core support is £28,000 a year and other donors include:

  • CEPF
  • Darwin
  • Ramsar
  • IUCN


Coast on a stormy day

Ian Barber

Senior Partner Development Officer , Asia

Further reading

Tagged with: Country: International Country: Nepal Project status: Ongoing Project types: Advocacy Project types: Education Project types: Organisation development Project types: Species protection