Conveying the clear massage of absolutely no economic value of wildlife parts and products, Nepal destroyed large mass of wildlife stockpiles on 22 May 2017 coinciding with International Biodiversity Day. Following the governmental decision of 18 May 2017, an event was organizedin the premise of Chitwan National Park headquarter, Kasara, Chitwan to set ablaze the wildlife stockpiles in presence of honorable ministers, high level officials from civil service and law enforcement agencies; representatives from diplomatic missions, donor agencies, conservation partners, and inter/national agencies working on wildlife conservation and illegal wildlife trade control; local political leaders, local communities, and inter/national media persons.
In the historic event, Honorable Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat, Minister for foreign affairs, Honorable Mr.Shankar Bhandari, Minister for forests and soil conservation, HonorableMr. Jay Dev Joshi, Minister for population and environment, Honorable Mr. Dirgha Raj Bhat, State Minister for forests and soil conservation, Honorable Mr. Raja Ram Sangtang, member of parliament, Honorable Dr. Prabhu Budathoki, member for national planning commission, Mr. Prakash Mathema, secretary of ministry of forests and soil conservation, Lieutenant General of Nepal Army, DIG of Nepal Police, Her Excellency Ms. Alina B. Teplitz, US Ambassador to Nepal were present.
A pyre of 4012 items of 48 species,stored in Tikauli-1739 items and Kasara-2273 items, were destroyed. The burnt items included 67 tiger skin, 357 rhino horn, 354 elephant tail, 34 musk deer pod, 2 clouded leopard skin, 1 snow leopard skin, 42 sacks shahtoosh, 2 sacks pangolin scale, 47 red panda skin, 418 leopard skin, 15 bear gall bladder. Among the 48 species, 18 species were listed in CITES Appendix I, 4 species in Appendix II, 4 species in Appendix III and 22 other species. All the wildlife items stored since 20 years or more were wildlife parts and products seized from illegal wildlife traders and also retrieved after natural death of wildlife.
A 15 X 5 X 0.3 meter burning furnace using brick, clay and iron rod was constructed in an open space with good aeration to burn the huge stockpile considering the volume, nature and weight of the total stockpiles. It was ensured that the entire process of arranging and burning of wildlife stockpiles could be observed, photographed and filmed. The leftover ash was kept in a pit near to CNP headquarter and a monument will be built above the securely placed ash keeping basic information of wildlife stockpile.
Mr. Prakash Mathema, secretary of MoFSC, welcomed all the digniteries and participants attended in the event. Mr. Man Bahadur Khadka, Director General of Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, briefly highlighted the programme and also the wildlife stockpile destruction process. Mr. Krishna Prasad Acharya, Director General of Department of Forests presented technical prospects of the wildlife stockpile management. Dr. Maheshwar Dhakal, chief of Biodiversity and Environment Division-MoFSC, read the message from CITES Secretary General, while Excellency Ms. Alina B. Teplitz, US ambassador to Nepal iterated for US support in conservation.Addressing the event, Special Guest Honorable Mr. Jay Dev Joshi, Minister for Population and environment, Chief Guest Honorable Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat, Minister for foreign affairs, highlighted the event as a historic event. Chairman of the ceremony Honorable Mr. Shankar Bhandari, Minister for forests and soil conservation emphasized the Nepal's firm commitment in combating wildlife crime. Lastly, Honorable Mr. Dirgha Raj Bhat, State Minister for forests and soil conservation offered special thanks to all the dignitaries and stakeholders, for their valuable presence and contribution.
This important event is a milestone in the history of biodiversity conservation in Nepal and message of zero tolerance against any form of wildlife crime as well as Nepal's deep commitment for biodiversity and nature conservation.