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« Smuggled crocodiles seized in China | Main | Malaysia takes steps to ensure gaharu trade is sustainable »
Friday
Aug032007

Maoist rebels accused of not returning seized wildlife products

Former Maoist rebels have not yet returned seized wildlife products, raising concern amongst conservationists in Nepal, reports the BBC

Concern over Nepal wildlife seizures  
By Navin Singh Khadka
BBC Nepali Service  

Conservationist in Nepal say they are concerned that former Maoist rebels have not yet returned wildlife products they had seized during the nation's 10-year conflict.

Wildlife officials are calling for any items taken off poachers and traffickers to be handed over, especially as a number of the Maoist Party leaders are now members of the coalition government.

No official records exist of the confiscated animal products, but a number of conservationists say they have documents listing seizures.

The Maoist forestry minister said he was not aware of any wrongdoing by party members, but added he would launch an investigation if information was presented of goods being withheld.

Wildlife Conservation Nepal (WCN), which has been involved in undercover operations to identify poachers and wildlife traffickers, said it has records of an incident that took place in April 2006.

"Three people with two tiger skins and three leopard pelts were caught by locals in the southern town of Birgunj, bordering India," said Prasanna Yonjan, the head of WCN.

"The three were then handed over to the Maoists' People's Liberation Army, which seized the wildlife contrabands from them but has never returned them to the government."

Mr Yonjan added that the three traffickers were freed after lobbying by a poacher who himself was later arrested.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6924813.stm

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