Conservation Volunteer Projects in Nepal
- Placement location: Ghandruk, Annapurna mountain range
- Role: To preserve local biodiversity, conduct wildlife research
- Main Research Focus: Conservation of the common leopard, leopard cat, barking deer, Asiatic bear, reptiles, amphibians, butterflies, rhododendron forests and numerous bird species
- Local Environment: Himalayan Mountains (2000m altitude)
- Accommodation: Family-run volunteer hostel
- Price: From
- What's included? Food, accommodation, transfers to and from our specified airport, transport to and from work where required, insurance, personal webpage, induction and orientation, 24/7 support
- What's not included? Flights, visa costs, spending money
- Length of placement: From 2 weeks
- Start dates: Flexible
You can volunteer on our Conservation & Environment project in Nepal in the spectacular Annapurna Mountain range in the Himalayas, where we work with a national conservation organisation, Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP). This government entity which helps to preserve and enhance biodiversity in the area is in great need of our help and we work closely with them on all aspects of protecting this magnificent park. The Annapurna conservation project area is home to unique wildlife such as the common leopard, leopard cat, Himalayan black bear, barking deer and several bird species including numerous endangered species of vultures.
With Nepal’s third largest city, Pokhara, based at the foothills of the mountain range the area provides Projects Abroad volunteers the chance of a life time to work within the Himalayan Mountains about three hours away from a beautiful city.
Here you will find answers to the following questions:
What is my role on this Conservation & Environment project?
Volunteers on this project can get involved in a wide variety of activities, such as:
- Wildlife research – as with any conservation area it is vital to monitor the populations of wild animals. Falling populations of wild animals or population shifts where certain species begin to dominate an ecosystem are indicators that an area is under pressure from human activity. We consider it fundamental to gather this information and create a strong database which we can use in designing conservation strategies. Our surveying techniques include sensor camera traps, walking surveys and scat identification.
- Endangered Species - we place a strong emphasis on researching threatened and endangered species. Nepal is home to some of the rarest and most elusive animals on the planet and we have already caught images of leopards, bears and civets on our cameras.
- Bird Surveys - Nepal is home to 867 species of bird, a staggering 8% of the world’s total and we are committed to researching these species. 35 of these species are globally threatened and we use the MacKinnon List to identify species for our surveys. To date we have identified over 200 species in the area and have published research papers on rare species such as the Pied Thrush.
- Butterfly Project - Lepidotera (butterflies and moths) are the second most diverse group of insects, and hence animals, on the planet and we are committed to researching them. We are currently creating an inventory of species and studying which are resident and which migratory to the area around Ghandruk
- Herpetology Study - a mountain area the Annapurna area is home to 40 species of reptile and 23 species of amphibian. Through night walks and opportunistic encounters we are compiling a list for the area around Ghandruk and researching which habitats suit which species.
- Rhododendron Regeneration Survey - This is a new study which will attempt to determine whether the claim that the area hosts the largest rhododendron forest in the world is true. Volunteers will also measure species composition and look into how anthropegenic effects may be impacting regeneration of the forest.
- Water station monitoring - Temperature, humidity and rainfall data is collected daily as there is no weather station in the area.
- Rubbish collection – we plan to launch this important activity in the future, and help clean the river, forest and the village. We also hope to teach the locals about the importance of recycling rubbish (glasses, plastic bottles) and the harmful effect of pollution in natural habitats.
- Conservation education – running workshops and events in the community. This work often depends on your interests and length of stay. On certain occasions we also arrange anti-poaching education in the village.
- Community activities – these include visiting Nepalese festivals.
Our volunteers will undergo training and a comprehensive induction in Pokhara by our Projects Abroad staff to ensure each volunteer understands what each project involves and its contribution to the management of the area. Each programme contributes to the overall aim of preserving and enhancing biodiversity in the region.
Given the variation in Nepal’s climate – with the wet season from June to September and the dry season from October to June – these activities may not be possible at all times. Work on the projects will be arranged depending on the season and the weather conditions.
What are the aims of this Conservation & Environment project?
The Annapurna Conservation project’s primary goal is to preserve and enhance the natural resources within the area along with aiding social development in Ghandruk. The area is rich in biodiversity and is a treasure house for 1,233 species of flowering plants, 102 mammals, 488 birds, 40 reptiles and 23 amphibians.
The geography and biodiversity of Nepal is unique. Its habitats are diverse; ranging from tropical forests to high altitude mountainous areas. With Nepal being home to the world’s largest mountain, Mount Everest, and having over 240 peaks over 20,000 feet, many of the conservation struggles are being fought within these areas.
Due to the pressures of human encroachment, climate change and loss of habitat these areas are being continuously threatened causing loss of biodiversity and environmental degradation.
You can read more detailed information about the aims of the project in our Nepal Conservation Management Plan.
Where will I live on this project?
Due to the sheer size of the management area, volunteers will stay in a family-run hostel in Ghandruk, located about 3 hours away from Pokhara. Although the facilities are very basic, you’ll be waking up each morning to stunning views of the Himalayas.
Living in Ghandruk will give you a unique cultural experience and meals will be provided at the hostel each day. As all Conservation volunteers live in the same hostel there will always be other people around to work and socialise with.
Pokhara is one of Nepal’s most popular destinations amongst trekkers and tourists looking for an adventure in the Himalayas, however, it offers a more tranquil and relaxed urban environment than Kathmandu.
Please note that the project involves a lot of walking and hiking, so a reasonable level of physical fitness is an advantage.
You can join the Conservation project in Nepal for two weeks if you don't have time to join us for four weeks or more. Please be aware that it can take up to three days travelling to get to and from the Conservation project base. If you join us for three weeks you will gain a valuable cultural insight and work intensely on the project, however you may not be able to make the same impact as someone volunteering for a longer period.