Dear Frog Lovers,
My name is Biraj Shrestha and I am from Nepal. I am a long-time volunteer for SAVE THE FROGS! and have been working with amphibian conservation issues across different regions of Nepal since 2013. Currently, I am based in Santa Cruz, California, where I am studying for my Masters of Science degree in the Coastal Science and Policy Program of the University of California Santa Cruz.
In 2016, I led a project in saving the stream dependent mountain frogs (locally called “Paha”) in the highlands of Manaslu Conservation Area, Nepal. Paha are hunted widely in the mountains of Nepal, including the lower settlements of Manaslu, primarily for food use and secondarily for presumed health benefits.
The project was called the SAVE MANASLU'S FROGS Research Expedition and was supported by a $1,700 grant from SAVE THE FROGS!, along with funding from other local, national and international organizations, including The Rufford Foundation. We worked in Manaslu for more than a year during that period, though I was involved in the herpetofaunal study of the region since 2012. The project that started in 2016 had diverse components, including amphibian and ethnoherpetological surveys and conservation education campaigns.
On May 10th, 2019, we published a portion of the project's information in the Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine. The journal article is one of the very few ethnoherpetological documentations that have come out of Nepal related to paha frogs.
You can download the article here:
Ethnoherpetological notes regarding the paha frogs and conservation implication in Manaslu Conservation Area, Gorkha District, Nepal
Local people normally collect between 50 and 100 paha individuals each hunting season and the hunting usually occurs in spring or summer. There are no legal regulations in place to control such harvesting. Coupled with minimal understanding of amphibians’ importance in the region, this is a dangerous scenario for the frogs. Our paper summarizes all the nitty gritty of paha hunting, use, consumption scenario and conservation implication in Manaslu. The results and conclusion suggest the need for substantial policy interventions to attempt to stem further declines of these frog species from the mountains of Nepal.
The support of SAVE THE FROGS! has always been pivotal in planning, designing and implementing amphibian conservation projects in Nepal. Our Nepal chapter has been growing and gaining motivated individuals passionate to save the frogs from extinction. This has only been possible with all the donations we receive from our generous SAVE THE FROGS! supporters and funding from philanthropical organizations. I highly appreciate your effort in helping frogs to survive better and create a healthy planet. Thank you! I’m happy to see the Nepalese amphibian community getting a global coverage and wider appreciation from our amphibian loving communities.
May 18, 2019
"Greetings from the Himalayas! On behalf of SAVE THE FROGS!, I would like to sincerely thank all of you for donating to my amphibian conservation endeavor in the remote mountains of Manaslu entitled 'SAVE MANASLU'S FROGS! Research Expedition'. It's a matter of pride that amphibian conservation initiative in Nepal is happening because of donations we receive from frog loving individuals like you.
Thank you once again!
Biraj Shrestha is an avid frog lover and long-time volunteer for SAVE THE FROGS! from Nepal and currently based in Santa Cruz, California. He works at the intersection of science and advocacy to help influence policy decisions for saving amphibians from extinction across Nepal and all over the world.