Nepal to gift two elephants to Qatar during Emir's state visit

Published On: April 23, 2024 08:15 PM NPT By: Basanta Dhungana

CHITWAN, April 23: Nepal is set to gift two elephants to Qatar, marking the first time the country will gift elephants to the Gulf state. This initiative is part of Nepal’s ongoing practice of gifting various wildlife species, including rhinoceroses and elephants, to other nations.

The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, is scheduled to arrive in Nepal today for a two-day state visit, during which the elephants will be formally handed over. According to the Chitwan National Park (CNP), the elephants, named Khagendra Prasad (male) and Rudrakali (female), have been raised at the CNP Elephant Breeding and Training Center in Khorsar, Sauraha, and are now prepared for relocation to Qatar.

Dil Bahadur Pun Magar, the head of CNP, mentioned that an agreement had been made with the Qatari government, allowing them to transfer the elephants at their convenience. "The preparations to send the elephants began about a year ago. Technicians from Qatar visited to assess the conditions of the elephants, and our technicians also visited Qatar to understand the local environment," Pun said. He added that feedback from a Nepali technician indicated that Qatar offers a suitable environment for elephants.

The elephants to be gifted are hybrids of a wild elephant named Ronaldo. Khagendra Prasad was born in Magh 2076 BS at the Khagendramali post in East Chitwan. At nearly five years old and weighing 1,190 kg, Khagendra has been trained and cared for by Jadu Singh Tharu since birth. The Khagendra Elephant Breeding and Training Center, where he was raised, is a major attraction for both domestic and international tourists. Khagendra is known for greeting tourists by garlanding them.

Rudrakali, the female elephant also set to be sent to Qatar, is five and a half years old and was born at the same breeding center from Poojakali. After Poojakali’s death when Rudrakali was just three months old, she was closely monitored by at least two caretakers. Now weighing 1,200 kg, her routine is similar to that of Khagendra, and she is known for her good health and trainability.

The decision to gift these elephants was confirmed during the Qatari King’s visit to Nepal. According to the CNP, transporting the elephants will require at least nine technicians. The Qatari government is preparing the necessary logistics, including cargo arrangements. Additionally, Nepal plans to send mahouts with the elephants to Qatar.

To date, Nepal has gifted 47 wild animals to various countries, including 120 crocodiles and crocodile eggs, with rhinoceroses being the most frequent gift at a total of 26.


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