By Tanden Zangmo
Poaching in the country, like in many other nations, is fast becoming rampant with reports of confiscation and clandestine incidents happening frequently.
Recently, the police in Gasa and officials of Jigme Dorji National Park (JDNP) arrested a 33-year-old man for poaching musk deer on the night of November 7, while three men are still at large. This was the second arrest made by the police and park officials within a week’s time in the same locality.
The trend of poaching in Bhutan is increasing, going by the number of cases in which the poachers are being apprehended within the park territories and protected areas in the country.
In another confrontation, police and park officials have caught two men, aged 18 and 25, on the night of November 2 on allegations of poaching.
Last year, three long-time poachers were apprehended in Neshingborang village, Nganglam under Pemagatshel by the forest officials for hunting down a leopard. The poachers had trapped and killed the leopard using poison left in the carcass of a horse left as a bait.
The JDNP Park Manager, also the national focal person for Tiger Conservation, Lhendup Tharchen said that the grounds on which poaching is rampant in the country is yet to be determined, but people believe it to be a lucrative business, therefore, is known to be encouraging people.
“Though we do not have a market for it in Bhutan, people fetch hefty amounts outside, which is why poaching, is increasing these days,” he said. He added that another reason could be lack of knowledge about laws or sheer ignorance. Moreover, the laws in place are neither very severe nor stern.
Lhendup Tharchen also said that lack of resources, especially human resources and vast forest coverage is also impeding the inspection carried out by the forest officials.
According to the head of Wildlife Conservation Division, Sonam Wangchuk, nabbing the poachers within the territory of the park and protected areas is due to less severity of penalty imposed on the poachers. Hence, he said that revision of the fines and penalties for protected species under section 82 (7) of the Forest and Nature Conservation Rules, 2006, pertaining to the tiger (Panthera tigris) and the snow leopard (Uncia uncia) has been revised. More....