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Planting Trees for Tomorrow in Nepal

In an effort to restore rural landscapes, Himalayan Nature – a non-profit organization based in Kathmandu – has initiated a project named "Trees for Tomorrow" which undertakes to plant trees in areas that have been stripped of these vital elements of the environment. Trees are of utmost importance as they purify the air we breathe, while providing food and shelter for birds, wildlife, and even other plants. Unrestricted logging over the years has resulted in vast areas of forest being destroyed – a situation Himalayan Nature and its supporters hope to reverse with the assistance of local communities.

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Features

Promoting Elephant Welfare in Nepal

As the largest land mammals in the world, elephants are fascinating animals that feature quite prominently in Nepal's history and culture, particularly in the Hindu religion where they are revered. Prior to the 1960s there were large numbers of elephants in the wild in Nepal, but encroachment of human populations and land clearances for agriculture have had a significant negative impact on wild elephants. Poaching elephants for their tusks and other body parts is also a big problem. Conservation efforts, particularly in the Bardia National Park, have saved Nepal's elephants from extinction. Nonetheless, they are still considered to be an endangered species by the IUCN – International Union for Conservation of Nature.

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Features

Conservation Efforts in Chitwan National Park

In an ongoing battle to protect the wildlife of Nepal, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) plans to train four German shepherds as part of the Asian Rhino and Elephant Action Strategy. Starting as puppies, the dogs will be trained over a period of twelve months before being sent into the Chitwan National Park with the rangers, soldiers and conservationists who are fighting a daily battle to keep poachers from killing animals in the protected area. This initiative is the latest development in conservation efforts that are having some measurable success, as on World Wildlife Day (March 3) it was reported that during 2013 no rhinos, elephants or tigers were killed in Nepal. In 2012 a single rhino was poached, but 2011 was also a zero-kill year.

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Features

Running Through Ancient Mustang

Planned for the 12th to 24th of April 2014, the eight-stage Mustang Trail Race takes competitors through some spectacular and unique terrain in the Upper Mustang region of Nepal. Runners will cover around 190km at altitudes varying between 2,900 and 4,300 meters, along an ancient trade route between Nepal and Tibet, with Dhaulagiri and Annapurna as a backdrop. Cut off from the outside world for centuries, and only opened to tourism in 1992, this region has retained its ancient Tibetan Buddhist culture and traditions. Runners will come across stark cliffs, caves, monasteries, villages, settlements and cultivated fields.

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Features

The Himalayan Monal: Nepal's National Bird

Referred to as the Danphe in Nepal, the Himalayan monal (Lophophorus impejanus) is the mountainous country's national bird. With its iridescent plumage in shades of blue, green and red, it is one of the more colorful members of the pheasant family. The bird's back is purple-black, with a dark brown breast, white throat and light brown tail feathers. It has a white rump patch which is only visible in flight. The male Himalayan monal has a metallic green head crest with spoon-shaped feathers, while the female has a shorter, almost spiky, brown colored crest.

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Nepal Prepares for 2014 Climbing Season

More than 4,000 climbers have ascended Mount Everest since Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay famously climbed to the peak in 1953. Conservationists have expressed concern that the increased number of people attempting to climb the iconic mountain may result in damage. Nevertheless, Nepal's tourism authority has decided to cut climbing fees for some Himalayan peaks, including Mount Everest, in an effort to attract more mountaineers. So, from next year license fees for individual will be cut to less than half. On the other hand, group fees will increase in an effort to discourage large groups from climbing together. It has been found that groups often include climbers of very different abilities, which has led to problems as less experienced climbers are pushed beyond their abilities.

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Features

A Brief History of Tea Growing in Nepal

With an ancient and interesting history, tea is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, with tea drinkers enjoying the aromatic leaves prepared in a number of different ways, both hot and cold. Nepal currently produces more than sixteen million kilograms of tea each year, with around 16,718 hectares devoted to cultivating this much sought after crop. The country's traditional tea-producing regions are Ilam, Jhapa, Dhankuta, Panchthar and Terhathum, but in the past decade or so other regions have started cultivating tea successfully. These include Solukhumbu, Nuwakot, Kaski, Kavre and Bhojpur.

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Features

Nepal Plans to Increase Tourism in 2014

A recent report by Nepal's central bank noted that the country has the infrastructure to accommodate up to 7.44 million tourists annually. The survey's statistics were based on a number of economic indicators in eight of Nepal's major cities – Kathmandu, Pokhara, Janakpur, Biratnagar, Birgunj, Nepalgunj, Bhairahawa and Dhangadhi. The report also noted that Nepal has not made full use of its capacity to attract tourists, while acknowledging that the country's hospitality sector had shown an improvement in service and facilities. Moreover, it was emphasized that more could be done to diversify tourism products through promotional campaigns and moving beyond traditional tourism in order to create employment opportunities and thereby alleviate poverty.

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