Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli (Republica file photo)
KATHMAND, July 12: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli today handed a couple of rhino named Bhadra (male) and Rupasi (female) to Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Yu Hong amid a programme in the Capital. Nepal gifted the rhinos as per the government's decision made some two years ago. Of the two couples of rhinos to be gifted to China, another will be handed within next one month.
Speaking at the event, PM Oli said that presentation of rhinos to China would help further consolidate historic mutual ties between the two neighbouring countries.
Expressing hope that the rhinos would be reared in a good environment, he said Nepal has established mutual ties with various countries through country's geographical and biological variations.
In another context, PM Oli said the due process has been underway to implement the transit and transport agreement struck earlier with China.
On the occasion, Minister for Forest and Environment Shakti Bahadur Basnet termed the gifting of rhinos to be of multidimensional importance and maintained that it would further promote Nepal's identity in the global arena.
He stated that by the gesture of gifting the rhinos, bilateral relationship would further deepen and contribute towards the conservation of wildlife and biodiversity.
The gifted rhinos are named 'Bhadra' for male and 'Rupashi' for female. Aged 1-2 year, the Bhadra weighs around 900 kgs while the Rupashi around 1,200 kgs, according to the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservations.
Rupasi and Bhadra will be sent to the northern neighbor via a special cargo plane that will arrive in Kathmandu this evening. The rare species of mammals are to be released in the Chimelong Safari Park in Guangzhou of China, according to the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu.
At the programme, Chinese Ambassador Wu Yong acknowledged the rhino couple as a special gift to the Chinese government and expressed her confidence that the rhinos will grow under a suitable conditions considering China to be its home.
Envoy Yong stated that bilateral meetings between China-Nepal and such exchanges would further augment the bilateral relations.
So far, Nepal has gifted 26 couples of rare one-horned rhinos to various countries including India, USA, Japan, Thailand and Austria among others. Nepal is home to 645 rhinoceros while Chitwan alone houses 605 of them, according to the latest census.
Present at the programme were member of House of Representatives and former Minister Agni Prasad Sapkota, National Planning Commission Member Dr Krishna Prasad Oli, Secretary at the Ministry of Forest Environment Dr Bishwanath Oli, Department's Director General Man Bahadur Khadka, Acting Chief of Army Staff Purna Chandra Thapa, Chiefs of the Nepal Police and Armed Police Force, Nepal among others.