Kathmandu becoming international hub for wildlife smugglers

KATHMANDU: Kathmandu Valley is becoming an international hub for forest product smugglers if we look at the number and nature of recent cases.

It was revealed that various organs of the wildlife of Nepal are being smuggled to China. In addition, it was also reported that smugglers manage to smuggle the body parts of animals to Malaysia, Japan, Europe and America form Nepal.

While Nepal and India are the party states to the CITES International Convention, an international agreement signed by the governments aiming to ensure the international trade in specimens of wild animals does not threaten their survivor, China has not signed the convention yet.

According to the District Forest Office, Kathmandu, around 40 cases of wildlife parts smuggling and 14 of forest product smuggling were registered in the fiscal year 2014/15. The Office took action against 89 people for the same.

The seized wildlife parts include hides of red panda, leopard, deer and the endangered species of birds, and horns of rhino, among others, according to District Forest Officer Indra Prasad Sapkota.

The smugglers who are arrested are often found to be saying that it was their first time and they were ignorant of trading those seized animal's parts was illegal, added Sapkota.

According to Indra Bahadur Rana, Police Inspector at the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of Nepal Police, the latest cases of arrest of the smugglers show that Kathmandu Valley is becoming a hub for smuggling of wildlife parts.