KATHMANDU: Despite arrests and seizures, illicit trafficking of wildlife parts continues unabated across the country, particularly in the capital city.
The recent seizures show that the Kathmandu Valley is still a major hub for trade and smuggling of body parts of endangered wild animals.
Nineteen persons involved in wildlife crimes were rounded up from March 14 to April 13 in Kathmandu. Of them, 15 were nabbed by Central Investigation Bureau. In a recent case, the CIB arrested three Indian nationals with 272 live animals and birds, including rabbits, love birds, parrots, pigeons, rats, munias, silkies and fighter birds and others from Swoyambhu on April 13.
The three, permanent residents of Patna, were trading in endangered species by setting up shops, according to police.
On April 8, plainclothes cops from CIB, acting on intelligence inputs, raided a restaurant in Bhaktapur and rounded up five alleged smugglers with rare artefacts made of ivory. The artefacts included an idol of Lord Krishna, an idol of goddess Laxmi and an ivory-studded silver bracelet. The idols made of ivory weighed 784 grams and 745 grams, respectively.
CIB had arrested four persons with red panda skin in Kalimati on April 7.
It arrested a man with leopard hide, 90 cm long and 50 cm wide, from Old Baneshwor on March 24. The same day, a joint police team from CIB and Metropolitan Police Circle, Maharajgunj, nabbed two persons with a live Eurasian Eagle Owl from Nayabasti, Jorpati. The arrestees were waiting for a prospective client.
Earlier, one person was held with 52-inch long and 14-inch wide leopard skin from Maitighar on March 15 and three persons in possession of a Red Panda hide were arrested from Thamel on March 14.
Records kept at the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation show law enforcement officials have arrested more than 700 wildlife criminals across the country in course of a year ending in February 2014.
Law enforcement officials say the body parts of wild animals are usually smuggled into China due to their medicinal value and for decoration. Wild animals, including leopard, pangolin, rhino and red panda are poached for their skin, skulls, bones and horns.
However, there has been ‘zero poaching’ of rhinos, tigers and elephants over the past one year period ending in February 2014, according to the World Wildlife Fund Nepal. This is the second time that Nepal is celebrating zero poaching. The first was in 2011.
According to National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1973, anyone found trading in endangered species faces a fine of up to Rs 100,000 and a jail term of 5-15 years.
• Wildlife records show law enforcement officials have arrested more than 700 wildlife criminals across the country in course of a year ending in February 2014
• Law enforcement officials say body parts of wild animals are usually smuggled into China for decoration and for medicinal purposes
• Anyone found trading in endangered species faces a fine of up to Rs 100,000 and a jail term of 5-15 years