KATHMANDU, May 17: A writ petition has been filed at the Supreme Court seeking legal action against those possessing parts of endangered animals at their homes and offices as decorative objects.
Arguing that it is illegal to keep parts of endangered wild animals, the petitioner Kumar Paudel of Barhabise Muncipality-27, Sindhupalchowk has demanded the government to first collect details of illegally possessed wild life parts and punish them as per the existing laws if these objects are found to have been acquired illegally.
Petitioner Paudel has made the Ministry of Forest and Environment, Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, Ministry of Home Affairs, Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC), Department of Forest, Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation as defendants. Paudel claimed that these government bodies had snubbed his repeated requests to put an end to this practice.
Paudel has argued that it is a serious crime to use wildlife parts of endangered species for personal use.
“Our constitution has ensured equality to all citizens irrespective of their public position and influence. While some individuals found possessing such wildlife parts are arrested and sentenced to jail for several years, many in power are publicly displaying such parts at their homes and offices as objects of decoration without any legal repercussions,” he said.
Paudel, who has met more than 150 prisoners serving jail term for illegal trading of wildlife in course of his research, argued in this writ petition that it is unfair to treat people differently for similar types of offense.
As per the Wildlife Protection Act 2029 BS, any person possessing parts of endangered wildlife needs to report to the local authorities within 35 days.
“It is found that none of such persons are found to have taken permission from the government bodies. Sadly, the concerned government authorities also seem not interested to do anything about it,” he further said.
As per the Act, any person possessing such parts prior to the enactment of the Wildlife Protection Act need to report the details to the DNPWC in case of Kathmandu Valley and concerned District Forest Office in case of areas outside Kathmandu Valley within 35 days. This legal provision, according to wildlife experts, has been grossly violated by those with access to power and influence. The public can keep such objects as decoratives if they obtain permission from concerned government bodies.