Policy to rein in foreign wildlife experts in the offing

Kathmandu, August 15:

The Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation is coming up with a policy to regulate activities of foreigners in national parks and other protected areas.

According to the department, the policy will be introduced within two weeks. “We are preparing a new policy to regulate activities of foreign experts and conservationists in protected areas,” said DNPWC director-general Annapurna Das.

According to him, the policy will not allow foreign experts to violate laws. “We will make the foreigners sign a special document before they leave Kathmandu for other parts of the country. The document will have a list of do’s and don’ts.” They would have to clarify which areas they are visiting and for what purpose, he said.

However, this rule will not apply to tourists, who want to visit new places and enjoy natural beauty or study culture. The tourists will be informed about rules and regulations, he said. Due to legal loopholes, some experts had stoked controversy in the country’s history of nature conservation, Das said.

American expert Professor Stan Stevenson had declared a certain area of the Sagarmatha National Park (SNP) “Khumbu Community Conservation Area” in May without informing the government and other stakeholders involved in nature conservation.

The department grilled the IUCN, as Stevenson was a member of the international organisation. However, the IUCN ruled out its involvement in the episode. The DNPWC carried out an investigation into the incident.