Over 20 years of Nepal's Wildlife Stockpile go up in flames

Over 20 years of Nepal's Wildlife Stockpile go up in flames

Sending a clear message on the country's 'zero tolerance' stand against any and all wildlife-related crime, a total of 4012 wildlife parts of 48 species were incinerated at the Chitwan National Park (CNP) headquarters in Kasara on May 22, 2017. These included wildlife parts stored at Tikauli (1739 parts) and Kasara (2273 parts) that have been collected from across the country over the past  20 years. Some of the major items burned included: 357 rhino horn; 67 tiger skin, apart from the 418  leopard skin, and skin of snow leopard, red panda and python; tiger claw; pangolin scale; musk pod; bear gall; leopard bone; Tibetan antelope fur, elephant tail hair; tortoise scale and sea horse among others.

 List of animal parts under CITES Category- I                       

SN

Wildlife part

Quantity

1

Bear gall bladder

15

2

Clouded leopard skin

2

3

Elephant tail hair

354

4

Leopard skin

418

5

Pangolin scale

2 sacks

6

Red Panda skincale

47

7

Rhino horn

357

8

Snow leopard skin

1

9

Tibetan antelope fur

42 sacks

10

Tiger skin

67

 

List of species under various CITES Categories

CITES Category-I

18 species

CITES Category-II

4 species

CITES Category-III

4 species

Others

22 species

Joining in the spirit of the historic occasion, that was made to coincide with the International Biodiversity Day, were also the Hon. Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Prakash Sharan Mahat; Hon. Minister for Forests and Soil Conservation (and NTNC Chairman) Mr. Shankar Bhandari; Hon. Minister for Population and Environment Mr. Jay Dev Joshi; Hon. State Minister for Forests and Soil Conservation Mr. Dirgha Raj Bhat; the US Ambassador to Nepal, Ms. Alaina B. Teplitz, along with senior government officials from related line ministries.

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Foreign Minister Mr. Prakash Sharan Mahat getting ready to light aflame the wildlife stockpile

Alighting the stockpile furnace into flames, the Hon. Minister for Foreign Affairs and chief guest inaugurated the bonfire spectacle in the presence of more than 500 national and international conservationists, media persons, security chiefs, civil society members and local community members alike.

The stockpile inventory management included identifying and bar-coding each wildlife part, whilst also preserving the DNA samples. Further, a special press conference with extra vigilance to ensure adherence to scientific procedure and transparency was maintained following the Cabinet's decision to destroy the wildlife stockpile through the amendment of the existing regulation on May 18 2017. The initiative was taken under the lead of the Government of Nepal and its line agencies, and was made successful through the support provided by the Nepal Army, NTNC, WWF, ZSL and SAWEN. Through the leadership of MoFSC, NTNC played a key role in the validation and verification of the stockpiles, to ensuring thorough implementation of the mission on the ground.

A 52 ft by 16 ft by 3.5 ft furnace using brick, clay and iron rod was especially designed for this purpose by NTNC and built at the army sport ground by the Shri Jung Brigade. Following the bonfire, the wildlife ash remains will be buried into a monument to symbolize Nepal's non-compromise against wildlife trade and poaching.

1100 kilos of ivory however could not be destroyed given the required heat to burn the material (requiring approx 900 degree Celsius). Other items not destroyed and saved for future  reference purposes included 10 rhino horn, 5 tiger skin, 4 musk deer pods, 2 red panda skin, 1 snow leopard skin, and a sack of Tibetan antelope fur.

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Bar-coding of the wildlife stockpile parts

Resonating the theme of other disguised speakers, the Hon. Minister for Forests (and NTNC Chairman) also emphasized Nepal's conviction to show to the rest of the world that wildlife should only bear value so long as they are kept alive in the wild, and that "wildlife parts have absolutely no purpose and future whatsoever when dead."

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NTNC staff at work before the stockpile burning ceremony

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Pit dug to bury the wildlife stockpile ash remains into a monument