"Seeing how our work impacts people's lives gives me a wonderful sense of fulfillment."
PEOPLE AND NATURE TAKING CARE OF EACH OTHER
Written by Shubash Lohani, WWF Deputy Director, Eastern Himalaya Ecoregion Program
I was born in Nepal, in a village adjacent to Chitwan National Park, one of the few places on Earth where you can find rhinos, elephants and tigers in the same landscape. It was
there that I developed my love of nature.
Some of my fondest childhood memories are of swimming in the river and picking fruit on the edges of the park. There were a lot of wild animals about, which was thrilling to me as a child.
My mother’s family had a farm just outside the park boundary, and my father’s brother used to run a tourist lodge about 10 miles west. When rhinos visited the local villages at night, my mother’s brother guarded his fields and chased the animals away. In contrast, my father’s brother was always happy when the rhinos came, because the hotel guests were so excited to see them.
I was confused by my uncles’ attitudes. One hated the rhinos and one loved them. Why such starkly different views of the same animal?
Even back then, I thought I might like to eventually work on creating better relationships between animals and people. Today, that is exactly what I do at WWF. As part of our Eastern Himalayas program, I help find solutions that protect wildlife and also bring benefits to local communities in Nepal, Northeast India and Bhutan.
Across its diverse landscape – from high mountains to tall grasslands – the Eastern Himalayan region is home to iconic species and seven of Asia’s major rivers. The area’s natural resources are under tremendous pressure, so WWF has worked with local governments and communities for the past five decades to secure the natural heritage and promote sustainable development of the region.
I am sure that we are doing the right thing, and this is why I do the work I do in the Eastern Himalayas, a place that is so much more than just my home.