Poaching, smuggling of endangered species rampant in Bajura villages

Bajura, January 29

Illegal poaching and smuggling of rare species have massively gone up in Bajura district of late.

According to sources, poaching and smuggling of endangered species are on the rise in Martadi, Dahakot, Manakot, Toli, Kailashmandu, Kanda, Rugin, Chhatara and Dogadi among other dozens of VDCs in the district.

Laxmi Raj Padhya, a resident of Martadi, said the locals openly entered the forests with guns, spears, khukuris and other weapons for illegal hunting.

“As rare wild animals began to climb down the forests from upper mountain areas due to increasing cold, it has become easier for poachers to kill these animals,” said Padhya.

Poaching and illegal trading of pheasant, lophophorus, boar, deer, ghoral and bear, among other rare species has gone up in the VDCs, informed Padhya.

According to Deepak Rawat, a resident of Gudukhati, locals stay in the forest areas for a week or two for hunting.

They hunt the animals either using traditional pistol or by trapping them. Some of the hunters also use dogs to kill the wild animals, said Rawat.

Rare wild species in upper Badimalika, Budhinanda and Khaptad National Park have been migrating to the forests of Kanda, Jaybageshwori, Barhabisha, Kailashmandu, Rugin, Bichchhya, Dahakot, Chhatara, Martadi after the mercury started dipping.

Meanwhile, locals are said to have formed various hunters’ groups and are openly trading the animals’ meat in the district headquarters Martadi and adjoining areas.

Each kg of danfe and munal meat is sold for Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,000, respectively whereas pheasant is sold for Rs 1,000 per kg.

Similarly, each kg of ghoral and deer meat is sold for Rs 1,000, shared a hunter requesting anonymity. The tiger and bear hides are exported to China, Tibet and India without any obstruction, he said.

The District Forest Office, however, said it had no information whatsoever about the illegal hunting and trading of wild animals in the area.

National Parks and Bird and Wildlife Conservation Act 2029 BS states that a poacher or smuggler can be imprisoned for five to fifteen years and/ or fined up to Rs 100,000.