Nepal | May 30, 2020

LETTERS: Plight of wild elephants

The Himalayan Times
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A new and unique form of elephant poaching is currently rocking different South East Asian nations with wild Asiatic elephant populations.

Strangely this is not just for the elephant tusks but for highly prized elephant skin that is fetching extremely high prices in the internationally operating illegal wildlife markets. These trafficked wild elephant skin is used for designing a specialised kind of illegal jewellery in parts of South East Asia and mainland China with very high economic turnover in the underground wildlife trade markets.

The financial return has been so high and rewarding that the rampart poaching of wild Asiatic elephants is even crossing the threshold levels of wild elephants poached in the continent of Africa for ivory, elephant body parts and bush meat. The demands for such natural jewellery being very high; these factors are making professionally organised and trained poaching units operating in different wildlife pockets across South East Asia to massacre wild Asiatic elephant herds for their tusks and more so for their highly prized skins.

The elephant skin procured through illegal traffickers are polished, dyed and made into fancy, blood-coloured beaded necklaces and bracelets for ladies and then sold through the wildlife black markets to customers who are ready to pay good prices for the highly treasured natural jewellery.

The demands for wild Asiatic elephant skin is increasing by leaps and bounds and with the closure of the traditional ivory trade; a new and dangerous form of exploitation of the helpless giant land mammals are being practised now that has the risk of wiping out wild populations of Asiatic elephants in many remote and inaccessible parts of South East Asia.

The worst impacted country in South East Asia is Myanmar due to the proximity of the international border with China that has enormous demands for elephant skins for these new forms of jewellery items in the illegal markets since 2014.

Saikat Kumar Basu, Canada

Begging

Poverty and unemployment are the major concerns of Nepal. These are the two factors that have forced millions of youth to seek jobs overseas, leaving the fertile lands fallow. It is the agriculture sector that can generate a lot of jobs and employment opportunity to youths. But this is the sector which has got the least priority or preference from the private sector and the government. A recent study conducted by the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare has shed light on the people begging in the streets of the Kathmandu Valley and in other cities. The study has revealed a dramatic increase in the number of beggars. The study has shown that hilly region is in the lead with 46.15 per cent, followed by people from the Tarai with 38.46 per cent and 15.39 per cent from other countries. Interesting to note, however, is that no people from the mountainous region were found begging.

Pratik Shrestha, Buddhanagar


A version of this article appears in print on March 20, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.


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