CIB steps up anti-wildlife crime operation throughout nation

Kathmandu, January 14

Nepal Police seized as many as nine tiger skins in an operation against poaching and smuggling of body parts endangered big cats in 2015.

According to Central Investigation Bureau, forensic tests showed that four of the skins belonged to tigers of Bardiya National Park.

SP Dibesh Lohani said the CIB had launched a special crackdown on poaching and transportation of tiger body parts under ‘Operation Wild Eagle’ from January 5 to bring to book poachers and smugglers.

As part of the operation, police nabbed six fugitives of wildlife crime on January 6 and 7 from Banke.

The arrestees are Shiva Prasad Chaudhary, 43, Tej Bahadur Basnet, 58, Lal Bahadur Khatri, 66, Madire Basnet aka Banbir, 41, Ram Bahadur Basnet, 62, and Bed Prasad Oli, 54, of Banke.

They had been absconding after Bardiya National Park and Banke District Court convicted them of wildlife crime.

According to investigating officials, tiger hides and body parts of endangered wild animals are smuggled mainly to China for their supposed ‘medicinal value’ and for decoration.

Meanwhile, the CIB said it has rounded up 16 suspects, including a woman, in eight separate anti-wildlife crime operations carried out in Kathmandu Valley and Bara in the past one month. Of them, seven operations had focused on the Valley and one in Bara.

Two rhino horns, three leopard skins, an elephant tusk, a musk pod, 150 kg pangolin scales and the bile of a bear were confiscated from their possession.

Pangolin scales fetch around 2,500 US Dollars per kg in the international market. Pangolin scales are in high demand in Asian markets, especially China, as they are used in manufacturing bulletproof jackets and traditional Chinese medicine, a police source said.

Chinese people believe that pangolin scales can heal swelling, increase blood circulation and help mothers produce milk, said the officials.

Anyone involved in the trade of protected species could be slapped with a fine up to Rs 100,000 and a jail term of five to 15 years as provisioned in the National Park and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1973.