CHITWAN, May 23: On the occasion of the International Day for Biological Diversity on Monday, government authorities in Chitwan set on fire around 4,000 seized animal trophies - heads, horns and skins of rare wild species - worth more than a billion rupees.
The authorities said the step was aimed at discouraging the illegal poaching and smuggling of endangered species.
Prakash Sharan Mahat, Minister for Foreign Affairs, lit the fire to the stockpile of animal trophies and within few hours they turned into ashes. A total of 356 rhino horns and hides of 67 tigers, 418 leopards, two clouded leopards, two snow leopards, and 34 musk glands, among others were burnt. As informed by the Chitwan National park, wildlife parts of altogether 48 wild species were burnt.
“For poachers and smugglers, these animal trophies are worth millions of rupees but as per the law, it is illegal to use the parts of animals after their death,” said Minister Mahat, adding “It is not a wise decision to keep the parts of animals that are degradable and have no other importance.”
Various parts of different animal have been used for medical products throughout human history. As per the Chinese belief, the horns of rhinos can be used to prepare medicines to cure various diseases. However, science has already proved that there is nothing in animal organs that can treat or cure human diseases. But still, a lot of endangered species like rhinoceroses, tigers, leopards, bears, and deer among others are killed and their body parts are smuggled.
The skin, bones, flesh, claws and even hair of wild animals are bought and sold. This has challenged the survival of many wild species. “By burning these ao called animal trophies, we actually wanted to send a message to one and all that the body parts of animals have no use after their death,” said Forest Minister Shankar Bhandari.
The government had taken a similar action on March 22, 1998.