Smuggling of animal body parts rife in Kakadbhitta border pointDivision Forest Office says smuggling has become easier because of the open border between Nepal and India.
A month ago, two Nepalis were held for smuggling Tokay Gecko, an endangered lizard, from the Nepal-India border point in Kakadbhitta.
According to the Indian Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), Mohanlal Chhetri and Thakur Prasad Gautam of Jhapa had smuggled the lizard, which has medicinal values, towards Nepal from the Indian territory.
Stating that the Kakadbhitta border point has become a transit point for smuggling body parts of wild animals, Phadindra Kharel, former deputy director-general of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, said, “People smuggle hides and body parts of various endangered animals, including wild elephant, pangolin, tiger, leopard, lizard, and bird species, from the Kakadbhitta border point.”
In the last fiscal year, the Division Forest Office had filed a case against one individual for smuggling pangolin scales from the Kakadbhitta border point. In the fiscal year 2017/18, a man was caught with the hide and body parts of a spotted deer in the border point. A smuggler was also found with a Red Jungle Fowl in the fiscal year 2016/17.
Bishnulal Ghimire, a division forest officer, said, “The smuggling of hides and other body parts of animals has become easier due to the open border between Nepal and India.”
Tek Bahadur Aryal, the chief at Mechi customs, said they have yet to identify the source or the parties involved in smuggling wildlife parts.
“The people we arrest at the border point are only carriers. We are yet to know who the suppliers are,” said Aryal.
The Division Forest Office is the agency to prosecute wildlife poachers and smugglers under the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1973. According to the act, anyone involved in the trade of protected species can be slapped with a fine of Rs Rs 500,000 to Rs 1.5 million and a jail term of five to 15 years.