By Dhruva Dangal
KATHMANDU, NEPAL (My Republica) - Despite government´s attempts to clamp down on poaching, illegal hunting of endangered animals is on the rise in some highland forests under the coverage of Langtang National Park over the recent weeks, accordingly to the local residents.
Poaching activities have been rampant in areas such as Hyolmo, Kiul, Selang, Golche and Bhotang, locals claimed.
According to them, poaching of endangered species including Dhwanse (a species of leopard), snow leopard, deer, musk deer, wild boar, pheasants, and yak is rising at an alarming rate.
The musk deer are poached the most, they added.
“A musk deer is rarely seen these days,” Karmatopke Lama, a resident of a village close to the national park told Republica, adding that population of Dhwanse and snow leopard has also declined significantly.
At least four yaks were found dead last Sunday alone in Aamayangri forestland close to Helambu and Baruwa VDCs.
The dead yaks belonged to Pemba Lama of Kiul VDC-8. The yaks had gone to Aamayangri forest for grazing.
After the herd did not returned for more than a week, Pemba had informed to local army personnel deputed for the park security. The army personnel, with the help of local residents, had found four yaks dead and rescued two other wounded ones.
Pemba says a yak costs Rs 1, 30,000, and hence he lost property worth Rs. 600,000 due to poaching.
However, many locals claimed that people from the nearby villages as well as poachers from other parts of the country, are reportedly found busy in poaching endangered wild animals.
The sprawling national park covers three districts -- Nuwakot, Rasuwa and Sindhupalchowk, and its main office is located in Rasuwa.
Sindhupalchowk shares a small coverage of areas including Kiul, Selang and Ichowk in the LNP, and a few human resources have been deployed there. Poachers have also taken advantage of the poor security arrangement in the park area as the security posts are located miles apart.
Illegal hunting of snow leopard, deer and bear is on the rise also because of human-wildlife conflict. These rare animals have terrified locals, by destroying their crops, vegetable and fruit plantation over the recent few years, locals informed.
Deer have destroyed around over 3000 apples and 1500 kiwi plants this week alone, according to Pasang Tamang, another local resident.
Likewise, Dwang Lama of Helabu VDC-7 was critically injured after he was attacked by a bear last Friday. He has been undergoing treatment in a Kathmandu-based hospital.