Nepali team labels China "Suitable" for rhinos

24th Apr, 2017 | Tourism Mail Crew

KATHMANDU, April 24:Ten months after the Cabinet passed a decision to gift two pairs of rhinos to China, a Nepali team of experts have deemed certain habitats in China suitable for rhinos in a recent observation.

The team, led by Assistant Director General of the Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation, Gopal Prasad Bhattarai, returned from China after a five-day observation visit in Shanghai and Guangzhou on April 14.

The DNPWC informed that it is now preparing a report of their observation that will be submitted to the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation as soon as possible.

The Cabinet had decided to gift two pairs of one-horned rhinoceros to China on July 10 last year. However, the process was delayed because the Nepali side had not been able to visit China to access the suitability of the habitat for rhinos. China had invited a Nepali team for habitat observation from August 15 to 21 last year.

A five-member Chinese team had visited Nepal’s major rhino habitat in Chitwan in January this year.

A member of the observation team and Chief Conservation Warden of Chitwan National Park Ram Chandra Kandel said they found suitable habitats in Shanghai and Guangzhou.

Kandel said, “The general understanding is that one of the two pairs will be sent to Shanghai, and another pair will be sent to Guangzhou.”

He said that in Shanghai, the rhinos will be kept in the Safari Park, and in Guangzhou, the rhinos will be kept in a research centre.

As per the 2015 census, there are 645 rhinos in Nepal.  Upon request from Chinese Forest Minister Zhang Jianlong and other Chinese officials, then prime minister KP Sharma Oli had issued instructions to forward the process of gifting rhinos to China during former forest minister Agni Sapkota’s China visit in January 2016.

Conservationists opine that the gifting of the rhinos to China would pave the way for future collaboration in wildlife conservation between the two countries.  This is the first time since 2007 that Nepal has decided to gift wild animals to other countries.