Who lives here?Stretching almost 2,500km from east to west, the Himalayas is home to millions of people and hundreds of unique species. In the Eastern Himalayas alone there are some 10,000 types of plant, 750 species of bird and 300 species of mammal - many of them found nowhere else on the planet. Not to mention the region's iconic, yet threatened species, including the:
For more information:
WWF Bhutan Programme Office,
Why are we here?Despite its rugged reputation the Himalayas is a mosaic of fragile environments that face a range of challanges. It is the source of 6 of Asia's great rivers, including the Yangtze, Indus and Ganges, but changes in climate are affecting their flow. Melting glaciers and causing floods as glacial lakes burst their banks, whilst downstream water availability is becoming increasingly uncertain as unpredictable seasons bring either too much water or too little.
Both the people and wildlife of the region depend on the natural resources of the Himalayas. Yet as human populations increase people are using the resources faster than the Himalayas can replenish them. Forests are becoming fragmented, which is a serious problem for species like the tiger and elephant that need large territories to wander in.
People and wildlife are increasingly coming into contact as the wild spaces decrease, and the human populations grow. This causes conflict as wild animals destroy crops and kill livestock. Poaching also remains a constant threat as the booming Asian markets offer huge financial gains to people with few opportunities.
What are we doing?Protecting species and habitats, and promoting sustainable development. Through our Living Himalayas Initiative we are helping to protect, restore and reconnect natural landscapes across the Eastern Himalayas. Our aim is to make sure plant and animal species can thrive, whilst local communities are able to maintain and improve their livelihoods. This includes the sustainable use of natural resources from forests, grasslands and freshwater systems.
Conecting landscapes. We want to help conserve and connect a mosaic of forests, grasslands and wetlands covering more than 7 million hectares; protecting and restoring habitats, minimizing human-wildlife conflicts and securing the source waters of some of Asia's major river systems.
Preparing for change. We're trying to improve our understanding of the impacts of climate change, and develop plans that will allow humans and wildlife to cope with these changes. We also want to ensure that tourism, oil, gas and hydropower develop in sustainable ways that pose no threat to the environment or the region's incredible biodiversity.