Biraj Shrestha Wins Award To Travel From Nepal To The United Kingdom

manaslu budhi gandaki river

Dear Frog Lovers,
Greetings from the Himalayas! It gives me great pleasure to share with you that I have won a Future Leader of Conservation Award and will be participating in the Amphibian Conservation Research Symposium (ACRS) to be held at Canterbury, UK this year from June 23-26. The award funds my travel expenses from Nepal. This will be my second time leaving Nepal (my first international trip was to Indonesia). I will be giving an oral presentation at the conference entitled “Saving Stream Dwelling Frogs (Paha) in the remote mountains of Manaslu Conservation Area, Nepal”.

manaslu budhi gandaki river
The Budhi Gandaki River in Manaslu, Nepal

My research and conservation education efforts in Manaslu — funded in part through the generous donations of SAVE THE FROGS! supporters — have helped make people aware of amphibians and encouraged their conservation in the remote corners of Manaslu.

I am very much thankful to my greatest supporter of all time – SAVE THE FROGS! USA, and Dr. Kerry Kriger and Michael Starkey from the organization. I also thank the local people of Manaslu who welcomed our initiative; and Friends of Nature (FON) Nepal, Rufford Small Grants, and The Pollination Project for funding my efforts. This award is dedicated to all of you and yes together we can SAVE THE FROGS!

Biraj Shrestha
SAVE THE FROGS! Task Force Member, Nepal

manaslu pemathang monastery lokpa
Spreading amphibian awareness at Pemathang Monastery in Lokpa, Manaslu, March 2017

Saving Stream Dwelling Frogs (Paha) in the remote mountains of Manaslu Conservation Area, Nepal

Community members of Manaslu Conservation Area are often involved in hunting and consumption of stream dwelling frogs, locally called *Paha,* from the genera *Amolops*, *Nanorana* and *Ombrana*. The frog’s meat is considered a delicacy, free of cost, and is presumed to have health benefits. Hunting frogs is also considered a mode of recreation in remote villages. Local use of *Paha* has been rampant in most of the mountainous regions of Nepal from time immemorial, which spells grave danger for frog survival as the Nepalese human population is growing rapidly. Lower reaches of Manaslu – Sirdibas and Bihi villages have the dire problems of *Paha* collection for local consumption from male members in the community. People opined it’s their unparalleled taste, protein supplement, medicinal benefits and recreational value that tempts them to wander nearby streams.

My project helped to set up amphibian conservation initiatives in Manaslu Conservation Area (Gorkha district, western Nepal), through a blend of research and conservation education activities. We conducted amphibian surveys, collected ecological data and threat information, mapped spatial distribution of *Paha* occurrence, educated the local community about amphibian conservation and raised efforts to empower the local community in stream frogs’ protection. The outreach programs were appreciated by the community, but we need long-term monitoring and continual support to change people’s habits in exploiting *Paha* of Manaslu.

manaslu choice fm940
Biraj Shrestha spreads the SAVE THE FROGS! message on Choice FM 94.0, Manaslu, Nepal


Greetings from Canterbury! It has been really an amazing experience to have traveled so far to London then to Kent and the ACRS conference. The two days symposium ended yesterday and there was so much learning from the works of all the hardworking amphibian heroes around the world.

I was more than happy to have met Prof Jean Marc Hero, Prof Phil Bishop, Prof Richard Griffiths, Steven Allain, Tariq Stark, Future Leaders and others. Glad to have increased my contacts. My presentation was received well in the audience and you must be happy to know that SAVE THE FROGS! is already well known and popular among the mass in here. Lots of people do know about you. I shared our conservation endeavor from STF! Nepal and people were thrilled to hear about the working challenges in dangerous high Himalayas.

Also, I wanted to thank Michael for the cool STF! Merch ?. Finally I received them. It looks really wonderful. Now, I plan to stay in London for one more week and explore the western world before I am back to Nepal. Thank you so much helping me to get going! Yes, I must say, I am a Proud Member of SAVE THE FROGS!”

— Biraj Shrestha
June 26, 2017

biraj acrs 2017