New Delhi: India and Nepal have inked a pact
to ensure better management of forest areas, many of them key
habitat for tigers and other threatened wildlife species,
along the 1,751 km border between the two countries.
The two countries will also co-ordinate implementation of
their national action plans to protect rhinos and elephants,
besides tigers. The pact, which was the outcome of a
consultative meet held in Kathmandu on July 6 and 7, also
envisages capacity-building of personnel concerned.
The resolution was signed on July 29 between senior
officials of National Tiger Conservation Authority and Nepal`s
Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation.
The key trans-boundary areas to benefit are Sukhlaphanta-
Lagga Bagga-Pilibhit, Bardia-Katerniaghat-Khata,
Banke-Suhelwa, Jhapa-Darjeeling and Kosi-Tappu.
Regular consultative meetings will be held between the
two countries to review progress and plan future strategies.
In the past, porous borders have led to smuggling of
protected wildlife species and products out of the region and
the new collaboration could help in better exchange of
intelligence inputs between the two neighbours to curb
illegal wildlife trade.
Items smuggled from India to Nepal include animal parts
such as tiger, leopard, snow leopard and otter skin, pangolin
scales, Yarsa Gumba (plant-insect) and Red Sanders.
"With illegal wildlife trade increasingly becoming a
transnational crime, such inter-country agreements are
imperative for ensuring adequate biodiversity conservation in
South Asia," said Samir Sinha, Head of TRAFFIC India, an NGO
involved in checking wildlife smuggling.