Mr Ram Din Mahato, is a Tharu naturalist and and expert in local herbal medicine. He has for some years made a collection of information handed down by word of mouth (in a mostly illiterate society) about the traditional use of herbs, plants and grasses for medicinal purposes. His particular interest is in the Terai, where elders in the villagers are loathe to pass on the information to anyone outside the family, whereas the younger generation now prefers Western style medicine. It is felt that unless the information is recorded, the knowledge at present held in the minds of those older people will be lost forever.
Ram Din travels from village to village in the Terai collecting the information, sometimes 'earning' the right to further information by using traditional medicine to cure villagers.
ITNC supported Mr Mahato's plan to publish a book with all his findings, since the results would provide evidence of the need to conserve a particular area of flora and fauna and keep the information for future generation. His research is on-going and the book is currently being written, a slow process due to the sheer magnitude of the task he has undertaken.
This project is to study the pattern of migration amongst passerine, or perching, birds - of which grassland birds form a significant part. ITNC agreed to fund this important research within Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, Nepal, a wetland that provides one of the best remaining habitats for both migratory and resident wetland birds. A significant part of the research is to involve the local people and to offer a training programme in the conservation of passerines. An additional part of the research is to build a foundation for future avian conservation by training Nepalese ornithologists to carry on research in this field.
Tall grassland once covered large areas of the lowland plains of Northern India and Southern Nepal. The only remaining fragments of this important habitat fall inside National Parks and other protected areas. The conservation value of these pockets of tall grassland is enormous because they support significant biodiversity - including endangered species such as the Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis), Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris), Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus), Pygmy Hog (Sus salvanius) and Swamp Deer (Cervus duvauceli).
Scientific investigation is urgently required to identify optimum long-term management plans which will both conserve biodiversity and encourage sustainable use of resources by local communities. To that end, ITNC is supporting collaborative research.