Peace brings poachers in droves

Khotang, May 21:

Peace does not come for free and sometimes even the animals have to pay the price for peace.

With the end to armed conflict poaching has flourished in the hilly regions in the eastern development region including Khotang, Okhaldhunga and Solukhumbu.

Poachers have set up camps in the Lekali jungle of Khotang for months and are hunting down musk deer, bears, wild boars, leopards and several species of deer, locals said.

Poaching has soared in Tyamke, Rupakot, Sungdel, Khidima, Dipsung, Nirmalidanda, Nerpa, Fedi, Mauhure, Chyandanda, Chisapani, Patheka, Locha, Kharmi, Khartamchha and Chipring of Khotang district; Ragandip, Bhakunde, Patle, Khijiflot, Rawadolu, Jantarkhani, Srichadar of Okhaldhunga and Nelechhering, Dudhkunda, Nunthlaha Bhakanje, Gyasa, Mapung, Kaku, Khoriya and Shergabam of Solukhumbu district.

Poachers from different parts of the country have manage to freely engage in the illegal activity here, said one Manu Budhathoki from Nirmalidanda of Khotang. “Poachers earn a lot of money by selling animal hides,” he said adding that the activity had completely stopped during the insurgency period because the government had prohibited the people from keeping any weapon and the Maoists had seized whatever of them were left with the villagers.

President of the Community Forest Users’ Federation Khotang Surya Bahadur Rai said the government should pay attention to conserve the animals in the forests in the hills here.

Acting head of the Khotang district forest office Chandra Dil Khatiwada said poaching could not be curbed due to severe shortage of staffers.