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Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP)
Most trekkers hear about ACAP the first time when they enter the Immigration Office in Bhrikuti Mandap, Kathmandu, to get a trekking permit to different trekking areas in Nepal. You are required to pay a fee to get into any national park or conservation area that falls under Annapurna Conservation area.
ACAP was launched in 1986 with the initiation of King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation (KMTNC) * to protect the environment with sustainable community development in Annapurna area by the local people without any intervention from the Nepalese Government and/or any other institutions. This is the first and the largest conservation area in Nepal that covers 7,629 sq. km. The head office of ACAP is in Ghorepani that lies at an elevation of 2775m. ACAP office in Kathmandu is situated in Sanchaya Kosh building in Tridevi Marg, Thamel. Approximately 25,000 trekkers visit the Annapurna region every year and the trekking fee collected from the tourists supports more than 40,000 local people. Thus, ACAP with the participation of the trekkers have been able to increase the standard of living of the local population, protect the environment and develop sustainable tourism.
ACAP is divided into seven unit conservation offices and spread out in 5 districts of the Western Development Region of Nepal covering 55 Village Development Committees. Each village development committee is assigned to carry out the responsibilities to manage, utilize and protect all the natural resources within the respective VDCs. Some activities of ACAP are as follows:
Conservation of Resources (with programs like forest management and wildlife management activities, soil and water conservation, training for local nursery workers, forest guards and leaders, promotion of alternative energy and fuel-efficient technologies, restoration of sites of historical, culture and archaeological importance, research and survey on subjects like biodiversity and wildlife census and formation of local institutions like conservation area management committees and sub-conservation area management committees)
Community Development (with programs like improvement, maintenance and construction of schools, trails and bridges, general health and sanitation facilities with health and family planning clinics, adult literacy, extension of agro-forestry and agriculture through training, demonstrations and seeds distribution and other programs targeted to women, youth and socially and economically deprived people for their income generation)
Tourism Management(with programs like formation of local lodge management committees with hotel and lodge management training for lodge operators, brochure and publicity materials, information posts, visitor centers, helicopter evacuation for visitors for search and rescue during emergency, training for trekking guides and eco-camp site development)
Conservation, Education and Extension (with programs like conservation education classes in schools with conservation awareness camps, indoor and outdoor conservation education centers, education materials development, village clean-up campaigns, programs on mobile audio-visual extension, natural history museum and visitor information services, environmental resource library, study tours and training for villagers).
ACAP is a non-profit organization which is supported and sustained by various trusts and the fees collected from the tourists trekking in the Annapurna area. The money is utilized in many ways to maintain the two main objectives in the area of sustainability:
through the promotion of various projects like the following:
Bardia Conservation Program (BCP) was launched in 1994 as a regular project for wildlife research and monitoring. Apart from this, BCP has been mobilizing and supporting local efforts in conservation and development programs like community forestry, conservation education, health care, school support and women development.
* King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation (KMTNC) is managing Central Zoo - the only zoo in Nepal, located in Jawalakhel, Lalitpur since 1995. The zoo was first established in 1932 by late Prime Minister Juddha Sumsher J.B. Rana as a private zoo but it was later opened to public by the Government in 1956. The zoo in Nepal boasts of housing 500 animals from 94 different species, out of which 30 are mammals, 52 are birds and 8 are reptiles. The zoo is open on all other days except Mondays. KMTNC has also introduced a program called "Friends of Zoo" to promote participation of the community, especially the school students towards zoo development by raising awareness on zoo conservation and it has been successful in collecting more than 2000 members for this cause. Apart from ACAP, KMTNC is also implementing Manaslu Ecotourism Project (MEP) in the Manaslu area since 1997. The goal of MEP is to develop the Manaslu region into a conservation area with improved access and infrastructure and strengthening local manpower to manage tourism and conservation activities.
For additional information, please contact:
King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation