By Barun Paneru, Prem Chunara
DADELDHURA/DARCHULA: The hill districts of the Far-Western Development Region have become a major transit point for smuggling wildlife body parts from India to China via Nepal. Recovered wildlife body parts such as tiger skins and bones by police in the region in the last one year are testimony to this.
“The trafficking of wildlife parts has increased considerably. But we are facing a hard time combatting this illegal activity going on in the hill districts of this region,” said Tika Bahadur KC, chief of the district police office (DPO) in Darchula.
“It is almost impossible to contain the smuggling with a meager security presence of just five police personnel. The authorities should augment the number of police to tackle the illegal activity,” he said.
However, locals allege that the smugglers are trafficking the wildlife parts quite easily in collusion with the police.
“Smugglers are smuggling large amounts of wildlife body parts from Darchula district alone. The police are involved with the smugglers. Police arrest the porters only when they cannot cough up the money demanded by them,” alleged Bhoj Raj Joshi, a local in the district, adding that police have not been able to arrest the kingpin of the smuggling.
All those arrested by police so far are found to be porters, and the security agency is yet to arrest any of the smugglers.
A week ago, police recovered some tiger skins while these were being smuggled to China. However, they could not arrest the smugglers involved.
In June, police in the district seized seven sacks full of wildlife body parts worth Rs. 50 million and arrested one person. In the last eight months, police have recovered wildlife parts from four different locations within the district.
Police in November recovered 34 leopard skins and seven kilogram of bones from Sikhar-8 and Pachibayas-4 in the district.
Dilli Pawan, acting chief of Apinaampa Conservation Area, said the authorities have not been able to contain the wildlife parts smuggling for lack of sufficient manpower.
Smuggling of wildlife parts from the hill districts of the region has been going on since 1989, said the DPO.