Unauthorised drones posing threat to wildlife, local businesses

Solukhumbu, February 14

Sagarmatha National Park officials recently seized two drone cameras as they were being flown inside the park without permission.

National park Chief Bhumiraj Upadhyay said advanced cameras were seized from the Jorsalle and Dole areas. The park management is preparing to send them to the department concerned.

Use of camera, including drone, without permission is against the law, but the law is being violated. In the past, the park seized materials meant for ambushing wildlife for poaching, but in the current fiscal till date, no such materials are found.

The park that was established in 1976 covers a total area of 1,148 square kilometres

The world’s highest mountain peak Sagarmatha (Mount Everest) also is a part of the park. Here lie four major valleys named Gokyo, Khumbu, Chhukum and Nangapa.

The park, home to several species of animals and birds, receives thousands of tourists, who come here to enjoy the mountain views, mountain climbing and to observe Sherpa culture and wildlife.

The park is listed as World Heritage site since 1979 due to which several human activities are prohibited in the park area. Helicopters flying over the park region and landing in the park is strictly banned. Choppers should be flown and landed at specified area, but they are found flown haphazardly in the name of rescuing tourists, complained Khumbu locals.

Lamakaji Sherpa of Namche said operating random flights in the areas directly impacted wildlife and hotel business here.

Lukla Airport has recorded 190 flights taking-off and landing in a single day. However, there is no record on how many helicopters take off and land at Phakdin, Namche, Hotel Everest and Sagarmatah Base camp.