Kathmandu, January 25
The National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (Fifth Amendment) Rules-1974, recently published in the Nepal Gazette has stipulated provision of gifting wild animals to foreign countries.
Earlier, the government used to gift live wild animals to foreign countries through a Cabinet decision.
“If the government of any foreign country requests the Government of Nepal for a wildlife through a diplomatic channel, the Ministry of Forests and Environment shall form a technical committee to study the possibility and appropriateness of gifting the animal,” reads the rules.
The seven-member committee headed by deputy director general at the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation will make a field visit to the proposed habitat of the animal in such a foreign country and submit a report to the MoFE along with details about the climatic condition and availability of forage. If it deems reasonable to gift the wildlife on the basis of the report submitted by the committee, the MoFE shall send a proposal thereof to the Council of Ministers.
The Council of Ministers will be the final authority to approve or disapprove the proposal tabled by the MoFE.
One-horned rhinoceros is one of the favourite wild animals usually expected by foreign countries as gift from Nepal.
Most recently, Nepal had gifted a pair of endangered one-horned rhinoceros to China in 2018. Bhadra (male) and Rupasi (female) belonging to Chitwan National Park were below two years of age.
Nepal’s rhino diplomacy dates back to 1985, when it had gifted a pair of the rare species to India for the first time.
The number of one-horned rhinos Nepal gifted to different countries has reached 30. Rhinos were gifted to the US, Germany, Bangladesh, United Kingdom, Japan, Austria, Thailand, Burma and Pakistan as well.
Nepal has also received elephant, lion, zebra and chimpanzee, among other wild animals, from foreign countries as gifts in return.
A version of this article appears in print on January 26, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.