Homeward bound

In Snow Leopard Fieldwork Diaries 7, I finish setting up the first phase of data collection in the Everest region. Then it’s a gruelling, up-hill-and-down-dale trek out, with all those questionnaires strapped to my back.

Snow Leopard Research Nepal

Another long walk for Jonny and a new chapter for the rest of the team.

My two weeks in the field setting up the research project were over. Due to family commitments, it was time to head home. So far, we’d conducted 15 interviews and almost 150 household surveys. We were well on our way to achieving our goal of 26 interviews and 260 questionnaires in the Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park – 25% of all the households in the area.

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Yak yeti yak

In Snow Leopard Fieldwork Diaries 6, Jonny et al come face-to-face with the realities – and mythologies – of living alongside large carnivores. Lock up your yaks.

Snow Leopard Research Nepal

Close encounters of the feline kind. Some readers may find some of the photos in this blog distressing.

On Wednesday 19th we left Thame for Namche Bazaar. After a stopover there to refuel on chocolate cake and apple pie in the heavenly Namche Bakery, we set out the next day for our new destinations. Khunde and Khumjung are 330m/1,000ft m above Namche Bazzar at around 3,730m/12,300ft. We’d heard that there’d been some recent livestock losses there so we were keen to check them out.

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Life in the freezer

In Snow Leopard Fieldwork Diaries 5, Jonny and the team experience -20 celsius blizzard conditions, as they face up to the harsh reality of winter life on the Roof of the World…

Snow Leopard Research Nepal

Our second blog from the Nangpa valley describes what a bunch of snow leopard researchers get up to in their spare time. Silly nonsense, mostly.

All work and no play make Jonny & Co. a dull bunch. Having time-off is therefore an important part of our schedule, and we take every Sunday as a rest-day. Most evenings, though, the four of us can be found reading books and playing Uno, all the while sitting as close to the communal stove as we can get without going up in flames.

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The Snow Leopard Bank Ltd.

In Snow Leopard Fieldwork Diaries 4 – The Snow Leopard Bank Ltd. – find out what microfinance has to do with macro-predators. And why both people & snow leopards are banking on the answer…

Snow Leopard Research Nepal

What does a microfinance scheme have to do with snow leopard conservation? Quite a lot actually, as the first of two blogs from the Nangpa valley explains.

On Friday 14th we left Namche Bazaar for the Nangpa valley, the western part of Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park. This area is well away from the busy tourist trail to Everest Base Camp, and is quieter, less well-off and more dependent on agriculture and livestock. This valley was also were Tsering, one of our research assistants was from. As a local, he had spent a week with us making valuable introductions to contacts in the area, but now left due to prior commitments back in Kathmandu.

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The Bizarre Bazaar

In Snow Leopard Fieldwork Diaries 3 the team and I start collecting data in Namche Bazaar. Gateway to the Everest region and ‘capital’ of the Sherpa people, it is also – at 3440m – home to the world’s highest Irish pub…

Snow Leopard Research Nepal

The team get stuck into data collection in our first village. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Namche Bazaar has now been the team’s home for most of a week. It’s a funny wee place: around 200 households sculpted into a horseshoe-shaped valley with fantastic views of the surrounding mountains. It’s also a tourist hotspot and the numerous hotels stacked on top of each other, with their blue and green roofs and window-sashes, give it a gaudy Alpine-ski-resort feel.

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Hakuna Matata

Seven years on, I take a fresh look at my fieldwork diaries from Nepal.

In week 1, I arrive in Nepal and meet up with the rest of my research team as we try to track down that most elusive of creatures: the research permit.

Snow Leopard Research Nepal

Our research trip gets off to a shaky start.  No worries.

We’ve arrived.  After various flights myself and my friend, and fellow conservationist, Maurice Schutgens, arrived in Kathmandu on Tuesday 4th February.  Maurice will be helping me to manage our research assistants, and the information they collect, over the next three and a half months.  He’ll also be in charge when I’m absent from the field due to family commitments.

plane

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