When Durga was the first to join a new dairy cooperative, set up by ZSL in Nepal, no one in her village believed she’d be successful.
Despite Durga having worked with cows since the age of 16, her community was still doubtful that she could achieve much as a woman on her own.
But with training and a start-up loan from ZSL she invested in a new breed of cow that produces more milk.
Importantly for local wildlife, the new breed doesn’t need to graze in the National Park which surrounds the village. This in turn preserves the forest, protecting endangered animals like elephants, rhinos and tigers.
It also means Durga, and the other 81 members of the cooperative, don’t have to fear their livestock being attacked in the forest, and spend less time journeying back and forth.
Four years in and, thanks to Durga, the cooperative is a real success. She even runs her own shop selling milk lassis, and is secretary of the cooperative – helping provide loans and advice so other women can get their feet off the ground too.
Now the other dairy farmers see Durga’s success and seek her out for advice, while bit by bit the forest regrows, its wild and wonderful inhabitants free to roam and thrive.