Kathmandu, 24 October. For the first time since the enactment of the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora Act, private elephants have gone through the registration process. The process has started after the Supreme Court directed to register the elephant owner.
Nepal is a party to the International Convention on the Control of International Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). As a party to the Convention, Nepal had issued an Act in 2073 BS to control the international trade in endangered species of wild animals and plants. Rules have been made in 2076 BS for the implementation of the said act.
Dr. Ram Chandra Kandel, Director General of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, informed that work has been started for the registration of private elephants. He said that the registration process has been expedited through the national parks of the respective areas. The work is being done by filling the form through private elephant owners. According to him, the registration should have been done within a year of the regulation being made due to covid.
The regulations were made in Mangsir of 2076 BS. The effect of Kovid is seen after Pus of the same year. The department has sent the amendment to the ministry for amendment as it was not registered within the stipulated time. Meanwhile, Advocate Sanjay Adhikari, on behalf of the Public Interest Protection Forum, had filed a writ petition at the Supreme Court seeking an interim order to stop the sale of elephants by making the Prime Minister’s Office and the Office of the Council of Ministers the opposition.
The Supreme Court had issued an interim order on September 12 to stop the international smuggling, sale and transfer of elephants. The Supreme Court has directed to register the elephants without registration and confiscate them within one month from the date of the order. Entrepreneurs have started the registration process after receiving the letter from the Supreme Court on September 30. After that, based on the order of the Supreme Court, the department has started the registration process. Director General Kandel informed that the registration process will be expedited by amending the rules.
Chief Conservation Officer of Chitwan National Park Haribhadra Acharya said that the registration process has been expedited for the first time. The main purpose of CITIS is to regulate the trade in rare and endangered species. He says that if the trade of such wildlife and plants flourishes, there will be a crisis on the very existence.
Of the wildlife on the CITES list in Nepal, only elephants are kept in the private sector. He informed that any wildlife listed in CITIS should be registered by the private sector within a year. He said that the listed wild animals kept by the private sector should be registered within a year before the regulations come into force. A total of 66 elephants have been registered for tourism activities around the park. According to him, the list of those elephants has been sent to the department on Tuesday.
Information Officer of the park Ganesh Prasad Tiwari said that the details including the name of the elephant, the name of the elephant owner, approximate age and the address of the elephant were sent. He said that if he was released, he would be sent back after consulting the department. As the park is famous for its safaris, elephant safaris are held in the surrounding community forests, so the number of elephants is very high.
Rishi Tiwari, chairman of the United Elephant Operators Cooperative Sauraha, said that the details have been sent to the park and the Supreme Court along with the Supreme Court’s order. Stating that the elephants have been operating according to the prevailing rules and regulations, he said that the elephants will always be operated as per the rules and regulations of the government.
Private elephants have been fleeing the area recently due to the decline in tourism activities due to covid. At present, 33 elephants are registered in the cooperative. He said that Kovid had lost 15 elephants. Most of the elephants have been sold to India even though the traders did not say so officially. Illegal trade is expected to stop as soon as the government starts the registration process. रासस