Livestock Innovation Lab Archive

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Livestock Innovation Lab Archive: Scholars in Nepal

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The Scholar Program identifies early-career researchers who are interested in tackling livestock production problems through innovative approaches and fresh perspectives. This small-grant program is open to early-career researchers (five or fewer years into research career) in any discipline related to livestock agriculture, from student to professor, and from any organization that is engaged in applied research on livestock production in South Asia and East Africa — colleges and universities, government research centers or laboratories, or non-profit organizations.

 

Evaluating the Impacts of Climate Change in Vegetation Cover over the Pasturelands of the Gandaki River Basin of Nepal Himalaya

  • Principal Investigator: Jeeban Panthi, Small Earth Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal

  • 2013 Project Abstract: Livestock are an integral part of the mixed farming system and socio-economical life in Nepal. Enhancing the livestock sectors, particularly among the smallholder farmers in Nepal, could increase climate resiliency. Around 87 percent of the country’s total population keeps some form of livestock at home. Most of the smallholder farmers in Nepal use fodder and forage as a major source of nutrition to livestock. The contribution of vegetation feeding in high altitude areas is important because there is no access of other supplementary feeding. There are multiple factors coupling together to change the vegetation cover: snow cover, population of livestock and human, temperature and precipitation and other socio-economic settings. This research project aims to identify the change in those factors from the historical observation data sets as well as to identify the contribution of each of the factors in changing vegetation cover as a result. The findings of this research will help the pastoralists and policy makers better plan for future livestock management.

 

Indigenous Knowledge and Gender Sensitive Approach for Climate­Smart Livestock Production System: Tackling the trip challenges of Mitigation, Adaptation and Food Security in Siraha, Nepal

  • Principal Investigator: Ram Krisna Yadav

  • Abstract: While climate change has become one of the defining contemporary national developmental issues, far less attention has been given to Livestock production and climate change in the Terai Regions. Livestock is one of the main livelihood strategies used by families living in Siraha. Livestock also provides a major pathway through which poor rural families can improve their income and social status. Climate change affects all aspects of human development. It especially affects rural women’s and men’s ability to secure their livelihoods and poses new challenges for livestock production in reducing poverty and food insecurity and in transforming itself into a strong engine for sustainable economic growth. However, the combined threats of food insecurity, under­nutrition, poor health conditions, and climate change subject these communities to serious stress, limiting their ability to cope with each respective threat and undermining efforts to reduce poverty. Two stage random sampling will be done to select twelve different Village Development Committee (VDC) will be selected for the study. Ten management parameters will be individually ranked, and then will be statistically analyzed to determine the in?uence of indigenous knowledge in livestock production. Gender roles and ownership will be determined and its role in Climate Start livestock production will be formulated.


 

Situational Analysis of Dry Matter Availability and its Consequences to the Ruminants relation to Climate Change: An example from Nepal

  • Principal Investigator: Bharat Shah, Agriculture and Forestry University, Chitwan, Nepal

  • Abstract: The livestock sector in Nepal plays a significant role in the agricultural development and economic empowerment of the country. Feed deficit conditions are gradually emerging as a central problem of livestock production in Nepal, which has adverse effect on milk production, maturity and health conditions of ruminants. Conditions are harsh for dry matter supply, especially during the winter season from October to March in Nepal. Available information reveals gross deficit of dry matter to about 1/3rd of the Total Digestible Nutrients (TDN) in the country. This situation depends upon location and season, which has not been scientifically verified for specific districts in Nepal. This could result in serious consequences when dry matter is taken as a key indicator of nutrient supply. This research aims to scientifically estimate the dry matter situation at the household level in order to improve productivity of ruminants to help develop appropriate adaptive strategies in the region.

 

Effect of medicated and non-medicated urea molasses multi-nutrient block (UMMB) on milk production, milk composition and gastro-intestinal parasits in buffalo.

  • Principal Investigator: Bijay Khanal

  • Abstract:The study will be conducted in the livestock farm of Agriculture and Forestry University from January, 2014 to March, 2015 to determine the effects of medicated and non-medicated urea molasses mineral block (UMMB) against gastro-intestinal parasites, milk production and composition in buffalo. Three treatments will be used for the trial. Milk production will be recorded daily whereas the composition of the milk will be examined by ultrasonic milk analyzer on fortnightly. This study will help farmer to increase the mild production and quality during the dry winter season of the year.

 

Economics of climate change impacts on livestock and adaptation by livestock smallholders in midhills of Nepal

  • Principal Investigator: Chandra Kant Dhakal

  • Abstract:The livestock sector is an integral part of mixed farming system in Nepal contributing nearly 8% to the country’s GDP. Meanwhile, Nepal is experiencing rapid climate change with poor understanding of its implications on rural livelihoods. The government of Nepal wants climate change adaptation to be included in livestock keeping activities, however, appropriate mechanisms for coping and adapting to adverse effects in the livestock sector are weak or lacking. Lack of appropriate climate information makes it difficult. With this back drop, this proposed research aims to quantify the economic impact of such climatic variability and hazard son small holders livestock production and performance in the mid-hill region of Nepal via determination of responses of small holders to the changing climatic scenario by identifying individual and community based adaptation strategies through field survey, focus group discussions, direct observations, mapping and transect walk

 

Screening of Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus (BVDV) infection in dairy herds of Nepal

  • Principal Investigator: Tara Nath Gaire

  • Abstract: Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus (BVDV) infection is a major problem in bovines worldwide responsible for significant reproductive and economic losses. Raising cattle and buffaloes for milk production has proved to be a very effective in boosting up the economic status of Nepalese livestock farmers and contributing towards national gross domestic product. However, diseases of livestock are major problem and reproductive losses due to abortion and infertility are major constraint among dairy herds of Nepal, but there is very limited knowledge and information regarding BVDV infection among Nepalese dairy farmers. Thus, the objective of this study is to detect both acute and persistent BVDV infected animals in dairy herds. This study will provide, for the first time, BVDV infection evidence in cattle and buffalo in Nepal and risk factor associated with it. Furthermore, the study will identify the BVDV infected vs non-infected and detection of PI in herds so that farmer will take appropriate control measure that will prevent infection in other animals in dairy herd and minimize economic losses.

 

Drought Adaptation by Smallholder Livestock Producers in the Eastern Nepal

  • Principal Investigator: Dilli Bhattarai

  • Abstract:With the changing climate, drought intensity and duration is likely to increase in Nepal. Occurrence of frequent droughts is a critical limiting factor in improving the livelihood of smallholder livestock as it directly and indirectly affects the agricultural productivity and livestock performance in terms of feeding as well as housing and health management. Therefore, it is important to understand how livestock are responding to drought and how farmers are practicing to cope with the changing climatic situation related to the drought. This research will use climatic data available from Department of Hydrology and Meteorology of Nepal and APHRODITE data to quantify and analyze the meteorological extreme events in the Koshi River Basin in Eastern Nepal. From long-term, typically 30 years, rainfall and temperature data, we will assess the impacts of drought on livestock, and coping strategies of livestock smallholders in the most drought prone areas in the basin.

Measuring Resiliency in Sheep Production Systems

    • Principal Investigator: Dilli Bhattarai

    • Abstract:Sheep production in the hills of western Nepal is a major source of livelihood for local communities. The Gorkha district of western Nepal, within the elevation range of 3,000 feet to 10,000 feet, is home to one of the largest sheep populations in Nepal. It is here that TIRI scholar Dilli Bhattarai, MS candidate in the Central Department of Environmental Science at Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, will study the impacts of climate change on the sheep population. “This [research will help] the people depending on sheep production know the situation, potential impacts from future climate change and plan for appropriate adaptation measures to increase the resiliency of sheep,” Bhattarai said.

 

Antibiotic resistance pattern of E. coli isolated from livestock feces from Bhaktapur and Rasuwa district of Nepal.

  • Principal Investigator: Suyog Subedi

  • Abstract:Antibiotic resistance occurs everywhere in the world and is not limited to industrialized nations. It is obvious that we can find microbes resistant to commonly used drugs in Nepal. We will be studying antibiotic resistance in remote location of Nepal and compare it with location where antibiotic is commonly used. The study shall be cross-sectional. To determine antibiotic usage, we shall perform a questionnaire with the farmer about previous use of antibiotics in animal. Secondary data regarding number of veterinary medicine suppliers shall be obtained from District Livestock Service Office (DLSO). The sample shall be carried to HICAST laboratory as soon as possible. E. coli shall be isolated and identified based on Quinn et al. (1994).

Assessing the Impact of Changing Climatic Conditions on Toxoplasmosis

  • Principal Investigator: Suyog Subedi
  • Abstract:The sheep population in Nepal has seen decreases in recent years, with abortions counting for a major loss. Toxoplasmosis, a leading cause of foodborne illness also causes reproductive failure in small ruminants. Climatic changes, such as increases in temperature and different rainfall patterns, may be increasing the prevalence of this parasite in Nepal, risking the sustainability of sheep production in Nepal and increasing the threat to public health. Toxoplasmosis research will not only be beneficial to sheep production, but also human health, as the parasite, if transferred to humans, can have severe consequences for people with compromised immune systems. TIRI scholar Suyog Subedi, a M of V Sc. candidate at the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science, will test for the prevalence of toxoplasmosis in sheep at different climate and ecosystems within Nepal. The study will also look at how climate change is affecting the spread and prevalence of toxoplasmosis. “Formulating even a basic control strategy of any disease requires a good understanding of the disease in local context,” Subedi said in his project proposal summary. “This research will provide concerned authorities with first hand valuable epidemiological information and facts about Toxoplasma gondii in Nepal.”

 

Prevalence of Brucellosis and Identification of Brucella species among Brucella positive milk samples collected from milk collection center of Bhaktapur District, Nepal

  • Principal Investigator: Sulochana Shrestha

  • Abstract:Nutritional, genetic, and infectious diseases are the common problems in livestock. Despite continuous efforts, livestock productivity has not increased as expected to balance the needs of the growing population in Nepal. Abortion losses by infectious and non-infectious causes are considered as one of the major constraints in the livestock production. As brucellosis has an endemic stability, it could be major cause of the significant economic losses in Nepal. Control measures, specific to brucellosis are still far from the attention of most dairy cattle farmers. Considering the damage done by the infection in animals in terms of decreased milk production, abortions, weak offspring’s, weight loss, infertility and lameness, it is one of the most serious diseases of livestock in Nepal. The current study intends to link these gaps by gathering essential data regarding disease prevalence. This study will also provide documentation of the organism causing brucellosis in dairy cattle of Bhaktapur District and will form the basis for future disease control strategy of brucellosis in Nepal. The results and findings of this study will provide essential information for the authorities to control the zoonotic disease effectively and also improve the public health and economy of farmers of Bhaktapur District.

Documenting the Disease Dynamics of Goats in the Rugged Landscapes of Nepal

  • Principal Investigator: Sulochana Shrestha

  • Abstract: Disease dynamics, including occurrence, distribution and prevalence, are projected to evolve under changing climate conditions. The Ramecchap district in Nepal is vulnerable to the effects of climate change due to rugged typography and lack of development and authority. With a landscape well suited to goats and sheep, livestock rearing has become a livelihood for many of the people. TIRI scholar Sulochana Shrestha, a B. of VS and AH candidate at the Himalayan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, will study the impacts of climate change on disease dynamics in goats within this district. Shrestha’s research will study the emerging and re-emerging diseases that are affecting the goats in the Ramecchap district, the prevalence of these diseases, how climate change is affecting animal health and the livestock industry, and how pastoralists are responding to these changes. Shrestha will study the emerging and re-emerging diseases the are affecting the goats in the Ramecchap district, disease prevalence, how climate change is affecting animal health and the livestock industry, and how pastoralists are responding to these changes. Local communities…”need the skills and knowledge to prevent and treat disease and improve overall animal health and production..” Shrestha said in her project proposal summary. “So, this information is essential for identification of emerging and re-emerging health problems of animals and implementation of effective preventive measures for sustainability of the livestock sector.”

 

Study on prevalence of cryptosporidium in livestock (cattle/water buffalo) reared near Mahakali and Karnali river basins of western Nepal

  • Principal Investigator: Tapendra Bohara

  • Abstract:Cryptosporidium is an important zoonotic pathogen transmitted primarily through water. Cryptosporidium complete their life cycle both in humans and animals, through zoonotic and anthroponotic transmission resulting in disease state called as cryptosporidiosis. Zoonotic transmission has been confirmed by epidemiological studies involving pets, farm animals and by accidental infection of veterinary workers. In Nepal, very little information is available on the prevalence of Cryptosporidiosis. Likewise, western Nepal being away from the mainstream of development and research has none of such reports. River water being the main source of transmission of the parasite and the parasite being the zoonotic pathogen, this research will investigate the prevalence of the pathogen in calves of cattle and buffalo living near the river basins. This would establish river water as an epidemiological factor for the transmission and verify the potential for the transmission of the pathogen.

Tracking Changes in the Incidence of Tick and Tick-borne Diseases

  • Principal Investigator: Tapendra Bohara

  • Abstract:As the dairy sector in the Surkhet district in Midwestern Nepal begins to commercialize, local farmers are choosing to import exotic and crossbred dairy cattle, paying upwards of $1,000 per cow. To pay for these breeds, farmers often take out loans from the bank. This investment can be threatened if imported cattle are found to be carrying diseases or showing symptoms such as fever, anemia and labored breathing. Cows that are not diagnosed or treated due to lack of experience and knowledge, may die, thus bringing some farmers close to bankruptcy. Ticks and tick-borne diseases could be a possible contributor to this problem as tick distribution has spread as temperature and precipitation patterns have changed in Nepal. TIRI scholar Tapendra Bohara, veterinary officer for the Regional Directorate of Livestock Services, will study the incidence of tick-borne diseases in exotic, crossbred and native cattle breeds across different environmental conditions. “No reports are available on this issue from Midwestern, Nepal,” Bohara reported in a project proposal summary. “So this report will be first of its kind in the western Nepal. Available tick fauna will be identified, which will aid in designing the disease control strategy at district, regional and national level.”

 

Taeniasis: An emerging threat to public health in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal

  • Principal Investigator: Rupendra Chaulagain

  • Abstract:Taenia solium is a neglected zoonotic parasite endemic to most underdeveloped countries and regions where pig raising and pork consumption are not restricted. Its life cycle involves humans as definitive and pigs as intermediate hosts, but its clinical importance is mainly related to the accidental intake of tapeworm eggs by humans and their development into cysticerci in the host’s central nervous system – a condition called neurocysticercosis. Neurocysticercosis (NCC) is the most common parasitic disease of the central nervous system and is a major cause of epilepsy and neurological morbidity in humans in endemic areas of the world. The presence of this parasite in Nepal was first reported more than 30 years ago; yet further research is limited. As a result, very little is known about the local risk factors and the public health importance of this zoonosis. The major research question of this study is to find the seroprevalence of Taeniasis in pigs of selected research site.

Developing Country-specific Diagnostic Tools for Brucellosis

  • Principal Investigator: Rupendra Chaulagain

  • Abstract: Known by several different names, including “Undulant fever” and “Mediterranean fever,” brucellosis is a disease that causes inflammation of the placenta and can result in an abortion in key production animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs. The disease is transferable to humans and can cause re-occurring symptoms in humans such as fever, headaches, chills and depression. Although the zoonotic disease is endemic in Nepal, information on the disease’s prevalence and impact in Nepal remains sparse. TIRI scholar Rupendra Chaulagain, MS candidate in Veterinary Science at the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Sciences, Chitwan, Nepal, plans to fill the information gap. He plans to study the epidemiology of brucellosis, estimating how many dairy cattle in the Chitwan district of Nepal are infected. He also hopes to develop diagnostic tools specific to Nepal. The goal of the study is to “increase the level of biosecurity in dairy farms and quality of milk and animal products by maintaining good health practices and adapting a prevention strategy against zoonotic important diseases,” Chaulagain wrote in his project proposal.

 

Abortion in farm animals: Assessment of factors beyond infectious causes

  • Principal Investigator: Narayan Paudyal

  • Abstract:Abortion is prevalent and widespread in the large ruminant population. However, very few farmers have reported consecutive occurrence of abortion in the same animals in successive pregnancies. The farmers’ interview conducted so far has revealed that the farmers do not take any serious measures after incidences of abortion; either they do not notice it or they are not well aware on the cause and effects of such problems. Even in such cases, the animal conceives and delivers calves after a full term successful pregnancy. The problem of internal parasites (such as liverfluke and paramphistomoms) and forage deficit are seen as major threats by the farmers. The present study aims at assessing the blood parameters of certain minerals such as copper, iron, zinc, magnesium, and calcium, which are more important in maintaining the reproductive health of the animals.

Documenting the Major Causes of Abortion at the Field Level

  • Principal Investigator: Narayan Paudyal

  • Abstract:Every year in Nepal, poor cattle health negatively affects the livelihoods of small-scale livestock keepers. Cattle diseases that contribute to reproductive problems such as abortion and infertility continue to threaten Nepal livestock production, yet limited research funds are available to help uncover the cause of these problems. LCC CRSP has helped narrow this knowledge gap by funding TIRI scholar Narayan Paudyal, an animal health research scientist for the Nepal Agricultural Research Council, to analyze the impact of Bovine Genital Camylobacteriosis (BGC) and Trichomoniasis, two important venereal diseases known to cause abortions in cattle and buffalo in Mid-Western Nepal. “The end goal of this project is to document and identify the causes of abortion at field level and assess the prevalence of [the] two major causes of abortion in large farm ruminants,” Paudyal said.

 

Lysteria Monocytogenes from Milk and Milk Products available in Nepal

  • Principal Investigator: Meera Prajapati

  • Abstract: Listeria monocytogenes is an important food borne pathogen, which is ubiquitous in nature. It is one of the important emerging bacterial zoonotic disease which causes listeriosis in humans and animals and occurs mainly from the consumption of contaminated foods products like milk, butter, cheese, ice cream, vegetables, meat and meat products. This disease is rare but once it occurs it can result in septicaemia, meningitis, and abortion in pregnant women, children and immune suppressed people. This study aims to determine the occurrence and distribution of L.monocytogenes from milk and milk products such as cheese and ice cream by collecting a total of 255 food samples from supermarkets, shops, hotel of Pokhara, Chitwan and Kathmandu valley.

Assessing the Possibility of Nipah Virus Outbreaks in Nepal

  • Principal Investigator: Meera Prajapati

  • Abstract: An emerging zoonotic disease, the Nipah virus will have future implications on public and economic health in Nepal. Bats serve as the natural host for the virus, but the disease can be transferred to pigs, and other animals, and then to humans. As all three hosts are present in Nepal, the possibility of an outbreak and transmission is greater. The disease results in respiratory problems or brain inflammation in the infected, causing death in some cases. No treatment exists and the virus’ effect on both the human and livestock population could be detrimental. TIRI scholar Meera Prajapati, an animal health research scientist for the Nepal Agricultural Research Council, is working to research the diseases’ existence and expanse in Nepal by screening for the disease in pigs and bats. “This study hopes to determine the status of the Nipah virus infection in Nepal,” Prajapati said. “To date, Nepal is not sure about whether Nipah virus is present or not. This study will help to provide baseline data of Nipah Virus infection and an early warning of the Nipah virus.”

 

Parasitic Burden Among Dairy Cows and its Impact on Milk Production

  • Principal Investigator: Upendra Shrestha

  • Abstract:The majority of the farms in Nepal are small in area and many are operated as subsistence farms. The use of quality inputs is minimal due to their supply unavailability and high cost and is reflected in the limited adoption of modern technology on most farms. Compared to the farmers in other countries, the Nepalese farmers have to bear much higher production costs/unit of output. This has led to very low productivity in agriculture, which contributes to the problem of low farm incomes and the problem of increased food insecurity. Furthermore, the low education level and lack of technical knowledge about parasitism among the farmers involved in animal husbandry exaggerated the economic loss even otherwise can be easily preventable. This research project will explore the current status of the intestinal parasitic infections among cows and aware the farmers for better productivity. This attempt will be helpful to minimize the current food insecurity problem prevalent in the country.

Measuring the Impact of Parasites on the Growth of the Swine Industry in Nepal

  • Principal Investigator: Upendra Thapa Shrestha

  • Abstract: Pig production is a growing industry in the tropical and sub-tropical regions of Nepal, however the industry is relatively underdeveloped, leaving it vulnerable to the effects of climate change and disease. Parasitic infections, including worms and protozoa, in particular can impair growth, decrease litter size, reduce weight gain or even cause death in pigs if the animals are not kept in proper conditions. TIRI scholar Upendra Thapa Shrestha, a MS candidate at Tribuhuvan University, will compare different parasitic infections within pig populations from tropical and sub-tropical regions in Nepal. To study the impact on both productivity and human health, Shrestha will collect samples from both pigs and pig farmers for analysis. By sampling from both climatic regions and collecting data on climatic conditions, Shrestha will be able to study the relationship between parasitic prevalence and climate change. “Improving the management of livestock with a view to preventing and controlling diseases can provide significant economic, social and human health benefits for the poor and for society at large,” Shrestha said in his project proposal summary.

 

Comparative study on the effects of nutritional status, and environmental and stress factors on estrus synchronization and subsequent reproductive performance during active and poor breeding seasons in Water Buffaloes in Nepal.

  • Principal Investigator: Shatrughan Shah

  • Abstract:Buffalo are a very important animal in Nepal, and contributes about 71% of the total milk and 52.8% of total meat production in the country. The major constraints on buffalo reproduction are delayed puberty, high age at first calving, long postpartum anestrus period, long inter-calving period, silent heat, seasonality in breeding and low conception rate. This study will be conducted in Murrah cross-bred buffaloes at livestock farm of Agriculture and Forestry University (AFU) to evaluate the effects of nutritional status and environmental and stress factors on estrus synchronization and subsequent reproductive performance during active and poor breeding seasons.

Developing Healthy Diets for Poultry Under Heat Stress

  • Principal Investigator: Shatrughan Shah

  • Abstract: With summer temperatures in Nepal reaching over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, a healthy diet becomes important in the production of young chickens, known as broilers. Heat stress has been shown to reduce the broilers’ ability to gain wait and digest nutrients; it can also lower the quality of the eggs and meat produced. TIRI scholar Shatrughan Shah, a B. of VS and AH candidate at the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Sciences, believes the answer to mitigating the effects of heat stress is to introduce tomato or tomato-based products, which are rich in nutrients and antioxidants, into the broilers’ diet. Shah will study how different levels of tomato powder and juice in broiler diet affects performance, body composition, susceptibility to disease and blood attributes at high temperatures. “Recent studies have shown that diets enriched with antioxidant substances could be used to attenuate the negative effects of environmental stress,” Shah said in a project proposal summary.

 

Assessing antimicrobial residue in poultry meat and eggs of Kathmandu Valley

  • Principal Investigator: Nabaraj Shrestha

  • Abstract:Antimicrobial agents are used extensively in livestock production, especially in poultry production, in prevention and treatment of diseases and as growth promoters. The magnitude of antimicrobial application to poultry has increased along with the increasing consumption of egg and meat of poultry in Nepal. Antimicrobials residues in feedstuffs are a serious problem, due to public health concerns. Increasing demand of meat and eggs of poultry and extensive use of antimicrobials in the poultry industry in Nepal requires research. Therefore, this research is intended to assess the quantitative antibiotic residue in meat and eggs supplied to Kathmandu valley from seven neighboring districts

Assessing the Impact of Higher Temperatures on Poultry Production

  • Principal Investigator: Nabaraj Shrestha

  • Abstract: Poultry production is a growing industry in Nepal, serving as a livelihood for many people. However, very little is known about the effects warmer temperatures may have on the birds’ performance and quality. TIRI scholar Nabaraj Shrestha, assistant lecturer at the Himalayan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, will assess the effects of heat stress on poultry in the Chitwan district of Nepal. The study will look at both the health of the birds and the quality of the eggs produced. Also, Shrestha will collect data to see if there is a correlation between increasing temperatures and the quantity and susceptibility of the birds to disease. “An introduction of methodology to cope with changing seasonal variability and concepts such as the development of thermo-regulated homes, temperature projections for early preparedness, adjustment for costs of changing temperatures, and decisions of geographical location for poultry farming could be a consequence of this research,” Shrestha said in his project proposal summary.

Seroprevalence survey of Q fever in ruminant in Banke and Surkhet districts of Nepal

  • Principal Investigator: Prazila Shrestha

  • Abstract: Q-fever (or Coxiellosis) is a zoonosis that occurs in most countries. Humans generally acquire infection through air-borne transmission from animal reservoirs, especially from domestic ruminants, but other domestic and wildlife animals (pets, rabbits, birds, etc.) can be involved. In domestic ruminants, Q fever is associated with sporadic abortions or outbreaks of abortions and dead or weak offspring, followed by recovery without complications. In Nepal, research on this disease has not been conducted. Hence, this study aims to screen for antibody in ruminants and assess seroprevalence of Q-fever in mid western region of Nepal.

Investigating Salmonella Infections in Backyard Poultry

  • Principal Investigator: Prazila Shrestha

  • Abstract: Salmonella are bacteria that cause an infection that can be severe in infants, elderly, and other people with impaired immune systems and may even cause death in some cases. Concentrated animal feeding operations can be a source of Salmonella infection, especially in the egg industry. In Nepal, as backyard poultry farms have become increasingly popular, Salmonella infections have emerged as a major problem facing backyard poultry farms. TIRI scholar Prazila Shrestha, an animal health researcher for the Nepal Agricultural Council, plans to research the level of Salmonella infection in backyard poultry. Shrestha will randomly select several poultry farms in Nepal to participate in data collection that will include blood and serum samples from the chickens; samples of feed, litter, and meat; and a survey of poultry farmers on bird mortality rates and frequency of egg collection. “The prevention and control of avian salmonellosis reduces the contamination of litter, feed and meat, which will ultimately protect the environment…and create awareness among the farmers and retail meat sellers…”

 

Documenting Different Strains of Salmonella in Kathmandu Valley

  • Principal Investigator: Sanjeeb Shrestha

  • Abstract: Outbreaks of Salmonella infections can threaten human health and negatively impact the poultry industry. TIRI scholar Sanjeeb Shrestha, lecturer at the Kantipur College of Medical Sciences, will study the prevalence of different strains of Salmonella in samples collected from chickens, farm workers and the environment in the Kathmandu valley. The different strains will also be tested for their susceptibility and resistance to different antibiotics. “The outcome of the study is useful to trace the outbreak of salmonellosis to the contaminated source and to elucidate the epidemiology of infection,” Shrestha said in a project proposal summary.

 

Assessing the Impact and Spread of Parthenium hysterophorus

  • Principal Investigator: Kusum Pokhrel

  • Abstract:Parthenium hysterophorus is a noxious weed that threatens rangeland health in the Terai and Mid Hills of Nepal. This invasive species replaces native and palatable species, reducing the total forage available for livestock. Knowing more about the full extent of the weed’s impact and presence in Nepal would help mitigate the impact of Parthenium’s spread. However, little is currently known about Parthenium’s true distribution. TIRI scholar Kusum Pokhrel, M.Sc. student in the Central Department of Botany, Tribhuvan University, plans to map out the weed’s distribution and abundance in Central Nepal. Pokhrel plans to document Parthenium’s impact on human and livestock health, determine local awareness of the weed and study the weed’s impact on livestock production. “The knowledge generated from this research will be applicable in managing this invasive weed Parthenium in terms of minimizing risk associated with economy, environment and social, which requires a thorough understanding of the problem and the alternative solutions,” Pokhrel said in his research proposal.

 

Measuring Lantana camara Incursion in Chitwan National Park Buffer Zone

  • Principal Investigator: Ganga Prasad Yadav

  • Abstract: Nepal’s first national park, Chitwan National Park (CNP), located in south central Nepal, is under threat of incursion by Lantana camara, an invasive shrub. Lantana is a native of tropical America has its origins in South Asia as an imported ornamental used in gardens and hedges. The plant has already spread into the park’s surrounding buffer zone that both private landowners and CNP manage. Lantana is known to cause changes in soil properties and herbaceous species composition; choke out competing vegetation; and decrease biodiversity. If left unmanaged, Lantana has the potential to leave pastures within the buffer zone completely void of palatable vegetation for village livestock. Increasing temperatures in the region and shifting precipitation patterns have the potential to create an environment ideal for the spread and growth of this invasive plant. Thus, a stronger local knowledge of the weed is necessary for mitigation efforts. TIRI scholar Ganga Prasad Yadav, a B. of V Sc. and AH candidate at the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Sciences, will study the spatial distribution of Lantana within the buffer zone. “This study is the baseline guide about the distribution of the Lantana camara and will provide strategic planning for the policy maker and experts of buffer zone of Chitwan National Park,” Yadav said in a project proposal summary.


Involving Women in Adaptive Strategies for Increasing Access to Feed & Forage

  • Principal Investigator: Bhojan Dhakal

  • Abstract: In the hills of Nepal, changes in temperature and precipitation patterns have affected feed and forage availability and subsequently livestock production. TIRI scholar Bhojan Dhakal, a MS candidate at the Institute of Agricultural and Animal Sciences, will pilot a project focused on introducing technology and knowledge to the pastoralists in the Madi River watershed within the Gandaki Basin. The study will pinpoint areas within the livestock production system that are seeing the greatest impact due to climate change; mitigation and adaptation measures will then be designed to address these problems. Another goal of the study is to encourage the role of women within the livestock industry, increasing their adaptability to climate change. “Indigenous knowledge along with an encouragement of women’s role and their active participation on livestock climate change adaptation can effectively safeguard the livestock production system against climate change impacts,” Dhakal said in his research proposal.

 

Exploratory study of an undiagnosed disease complex in a yak population in the remote Humla region of Nepal in the context of climate change

  • Principal Investigator: Renu Shakya

  • Abstract: Climate Change is the greatest global health threat of the 21st century and the Himalayan Yak is threatened due to the impacts of climate change in Nepal. Tibau is an uncharacterized, undiagnosed disease complex, believed to be associated with climate change. This study will attempt to characterize this undiagnosed disease complex using a case study methodology. Researchers will interview herders and collect samples from yak believed to be sick or have died from Tibau. The findings will also help farmers understand the impact of climate change on their livestock and assist in policy formulation in adapting livestock to climate change.

Linking Ecosystem Health with Measures of Animal and Human Health

  • Principal Investigator: Renu Shakya

  • Abstract: When TIRI scholar Renu Shakya, a MA candidate in Clinical Psychology at Tribhuvan University, visited the Nepal district of Humla in the summer of 2012, signs of a changing climate were apparent. “Megha Ayena’” — “There is no rain!” — was a familiar expression among the people, who depend upon the health of their livestock for their livelihood. Humla is one of the least developed and most isolated districts in Nepal, leaving it particularly vulnerable. Specifically, lack of infrastructure, such as plumbing, and limited access to potable water provides a breeding ground for zoonotic diseases. Shakya plans to study the health of the district’s livestock in the context of climate change. The study will also look at pastoralists’ psychological response when an animal contracts a disease. “Understanding thoroughly about the prevalent diseases (acute and chronic) in animals, the psychological state of farmer tending the diseased animal and the pathways chosen to seek health could give us the detailed picture of further improvement and intervention in national level animal healthcare in the future,” Shakya said in a project proposal summary.

 

Measuring the Impact of Degraded Ecosystem Health on Livestock Livelihood

  • Principal Investigator: Muna Sharma

  • Abstract: For the indigenous communities of the Himalayan region in Nepal, transhumance, moving livestock according to the season, serves as a livelihood for many. However, this region, and thus this way of life, is at high risk due to changes in the climate. Reports of degraded pastures, decreased snow cover, increased temperatures, increased drought periods, decreased pasture forage are a few of the changes herders are experiencing. TIRI scholar Muna Sharma, a MS candidate at the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Sciences, will research the impacts of climate change on transhumance herding in the high hills of the Sankhuwasabha district in Nepal. The study will focus on the pastoralists —their existing knowledge on climate change, their current adaptive strategies and the success of those strategies on maintaining pastoralist livelihoods. “Transhumance herding is one of least studied areas in Nepal but it covers a significant portion of overall economy of high-hills,” Sharma said. “Government policies have not adequately addressed this system of livestock rearing due to lack of statistical data and information.”

 

Incorporating Community Forestry Programs in Adaptive Strategies

  • Principal Investigator: Suraj Subedi

  • Abstract: The Community Forestry Program in Nepal puts the management and conservation of legally certified forestland into the hands of the people. During climatic droughts and when seasonal pastures are not at agricultural land, smallholder livestock farmers rely heavily on these natural sources of pasture. But this Forest program does not allow direct access of livestock for grazing due to more stringent conservation strategy. Ultimately, farmers sell out their livestock or switch to other means of income. TIRI scholar Suraj Subedi, grad student at the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Sciences, plans to pilot the management of cultivated pastures within a Community Forest. The study will map out the climate vulnerability of smallholder farmers and observe how climate change affects pasture availability and thus the productivity of the livestock system. Project will manage a demo site within a forest and compare the productivity of livestock system for both controlled and subject community before and after the project implementation. The end goal of the study is to develop pasture management practices and strategies for the Community Forest Program that will build drought resiliency among other smallholder farmers and decrease dependency of the farmers on natural pasture. “The project will develop a demonstration and learning site to help enhance the adaptive capacities of small holder farmers to climate-change induced pasture scarcity,” Subedi said in a project proposal.