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PLEASE JOIN OUR CAMPAIGN AND STOP THE GOVERNMENT SELLING OUR WILDLIFE!



WHAT’S HAPPENING?

The Nepal Government is planning a major reform in wildlife management by legalizing the farming and commercialization of wild animals. In a proposed amendment to the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 2029, the Government will issue permits for any individual or private institution to own and breed wild animals for any purpose, including experimentation and commercial breeding. According to the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC), the Department will supply seed animals for farming in an effort to “encourage sustainable conservation and use of wildlife for improving the livelihood of local communities”. The Department will derive revenue from granting seed animals and from the royalties paid by applicants upon receiving a license.



WHY IS THIS A PROBLEM?

While other nations are combating the wildlife trade by crushing ivory and burning animal parts, our government is more interested in the commodification and privatization of wild animals and their derivatives. Legalizing the breeding and sale of wild animals, including endangered species, will be catastrophic for wild animal populations in Nepal and completely undermine decades of successes in conservation. Nepal continues to be a major international transit hub and source country for the illegal wildlife trade. Wildlife trafficking and rampant poaching remain a great challenge for the Government. Yet by permitting ownership and breeding of wildlife, the Government is inviting poachers and traffickers to exploit the blurred line between “wild” and “farmed” animals. With major gaps and little capacity, the existing regulatory mechanisms are already failing to tackle the illegal trade and protect our wildlife, but with this proposed amendment the task will become impossible. Furthermore, by encouraging the commercial production of wild animals, the Government is perpetuating the notion that wild animals and their parts and derivatives are commodities for human consumption, and thus encouraging the wildlife trade. This is the very opposite of what they should be doing – protecting these animals and their habitat. In short, the proposed amendment promotes commercial venture for prospective private, national, or international entities benefitting from the wildlife industry and exotic animal trade, and strongly brings into question the Government’s ethics towards wildlife conservation and the communities dependent upon Nepal’s biodiversity.



HAVE THEY TRIED THIS BEFORE?

Yes. In 2003, DNPWC formulated a working policy on Wild Animal Farming, Breeding and Research. The Policy proposed to “promote the involvement of the private sector in farming, breeding and carrying out scientific research and studies of endangered and high-value wild animal species” and promote the “ex situ conservation of rare and endangered species that are on the verge of extinction”. The Policy allowed for the captive breeding and export (“only for scientific research and study”) of protected species including the Gharial crocodile, Black Buck and many other species including the Rhesus macaque (CITES Appendix II). It later emerged that the vested interest behind this policy was to allow captive breeding of macaques by the Nepal Biodiversity Research Society to supply the biomedical research facilities of the US-based National Primate Research Center. A large farm containing over 300 macaques had been established in Lele, Lalitpur District as the National Biomedical Research Center (NBRC) in which around 50 macaques were granted as seed population by DNPWC. The macaques for the research institute were captured from their natural habitat in Nepalgunj, Dhading, and Banke districts. Later, the seed populations were not released, but used for bio-medical tests. Intensive campaigning by the Jane Goodall Institute Nepal and other animal welfare and conservation organizations successfully prevented the enactment of the policy, which was eventually deemed unlawful by the Supreme Court.



HOW WILL THE ANIMALS BE TREATED?

By definition, wild animals cannot be farmed. It is questionable whether any animal can be humanely and ethically farmed for the purpose of supplying meat or other parts for human consumption. However, domestic livestock have been selectively bred over millennia to make them more suited to a farm environment. Any attempt to confine wild animals in a farm will inevitably cause immense suffering, disease, and death. The fate of animals deemed non-useful, inadequate or surplus is also a major concern. For example, around 30% of the monkeys bred at the Lele Breeding farm in Nepal were terminated, as they were determined to be carrying certain viruses and hence considered unsuitable for use in the bio-medical labs they were being supplied to.



BUT WON’T IT BENEFIT LOCAL PEOPLE?

The failed Working Policy on Wild Animal Farming, Breeding and Research 2003 stated its aim was “to improve the living condition of the women, poor and disadvantaged section of the society from biodiversity conservation by encouraging individuals, groups, and institutions in farming and research of high value wild flora and fauna”. In reality, it was proved to be a hasty and ill-conceived attempt to satisfy a vested business interest.

This instance highlights the government’s poor track record in maintaining transparency, accountability, and civic engagement while making decisions. Thus we can assume the amendment will be unlikely to benefit local communities and wildlife conservation, serving rather to augment and sustain the wildlife trade and guard the self-interests of the actors involved.



WHAT ABOUT CITES?

The afore-mentioned 2003 Working Policy stated that the parties involved in farming of wildlife must abide by CITES. CITES intends to minimize the threat to endangered species by imposing regulation on trade of endangered species. Depending on the categorization of species CITES permits their trade on certain conditions. One of the conditions for Appendix II species is that the individuals on the market need to come from captive production. There is no mechanism for CITES or for the Government of Nepal to distinguish between captive-bred and wild-caught individuals once the exporters produce documents claiming the source to be captive bred, which will be easy for license holders. Thus, focusing on commercial trade of wildlife for any purpose without prior assessment of the population of the species by private sectors suggests economic intentions with no conservation value. The justification that wildlife farming for sustainable conservation is not systematic as the seed animal to be provided for farming if captured from their natural habitat will threaten the wild population and their ecology service. Hence, in the future if this move proves to be a disaster for conservation there is no provision or mechanism for CITES to hold the government or any other agency accountable for the loss.

The 2003 Policy also provisioned for DNPWC to have a three-member team for regular inspection and monitoring of the licensed farms under the leadership of the Deputy Director General. However, the policy missed in allocating or mentioning where the budget for such inspection and monitoring would come from. So far, DNPWC has granted wildlife farming licenses to more than 15 individual farms and most of them have never been visited officially by the designated team. [How is this possible if it is not legal?] Moreover, they have granted licenses for species that are not listed in the Policy as species permitted to be farmed. Import of exotic species of wildlife also runs unabated through Tribhuwan International Airport given the continued lack of expertise and capacity to distinguish between the species mentioned in the papers and the live individuals imported, all thanks to the lack of CITES law in the country.



WHAT CAN I DO?

We can and must deliver an overwhelming wave of opposition to the Government's plan and stop this disastrous amendment to our National Parks and Wildlife Protection Act.

Tell DNPWC that you know what they are trying to do and urge them to stand up for the protection of our wonderful biodiversity. Take a moment to add your name to our petition, write a letter to the Government, or help us spread the word among your network #TakeAction #actforwildlife. See below for more details on what you can do.

The Jane Goodall Institute Nepal is also looking for organizations to join our Alliance Against Wildlife Farming. Please get in touch if your organization may be interested.



Related Resources

http://annapurnapost.com/EpaperDetails.aspx/paper/8447

http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2014-08-10/govt-to-reform-wildlife-farming-policy.html

http://www.mfsc.gov.np/downloadfile/NPWC%20Act%20revision1%20final%202071%2012-9_1428557529.pdf

http://www.dnpwc.gov.np/Wildlife%20Farming.pdf

https://cites.org/eng/disc/text.php

http://citesnepal.org/new/index.php/programs/stop-the-monkey-business.html

SAMPLE LETTER:

These are just sample letters – feel free to use these letters or alternatively write in your own words…



Letter for citizen of Nepal


Fanindra Raj Kharel, Director General
Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation
Ministry of Forestry and Soil Conservation
The Government of Nepal
fkharel@gmail.com
newuser.dnpwc@gmail.com


[DATE]



RE: PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO THE NATIONAL PARKS AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION ACT 2029



Dear Mr Kharel,
I am writing to express my concern regarding the proposed amendment to the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 2029, which would allow the farming of wild animals.

As a citizen of Nepal, I am proud of our country’s rich natural heritage and delighted by our successes in wildlife conservation. I congratulate your Department’s commitment to improving livelihoods of local communities and disadvantaged groups through sustainable biodiversity conservation. However, the news that you are proposing to amend our National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 2029 to allow any individual or private institution to own and breed wild animals is very disappointing.

Nepal continues to be a major international transit hub for the illegal wildlife trade and this is possibly the greatest challenge to conserving wildlife in our country. Yet by reforming our Wildlife Protection Act you are playing directly into the hands of the poachers and traffickers, inviting them to exploit the blurred line between “wild” and “farmed” animal. There is no mechanism for CITES or for the Government of Nepal to distinguish between captive-bred and wild-caught individuals once the exporters produce documents claiming the source to be captive bred, which will be easy for license holders.

Your Department has a poor track record of implementing effective regulatory mechanisms and a history of weakening conservation regulations. The Wildlife Farming, Breeding, and Research Policy 2003 (eventually deemed unlawful by the Supreme Court) facilitated the captive breeding of protective species (CITES Appendix II) such as Rhesus macaques to supply the US-based National Primate Research Center. Meanwhile, import of exotic species persists through Tribhuvan International Airport demonstrating continued failure of CITES implementation in Nepal.

Inevitably, wildlife farming will have catastrophic consequences for our wild animal populations and raises considerable ethical concerns. Wild animals, by definition, cannot be farmed. Any attempt to confine wild animals in a farm will inevitably cause immense suffering, disease, and death, and a high number will deemed surplus or unviable (in the aborted Rhesus macaque farm, 30% of the 300 animals were detected to carry viruses rendering them undesirable by the US facility).

By encouraging the privatization and commercial production of wild animals your Department is perpetuating the notion that wild animals and their parts and derivatives are commodities for human consumption, and hence encouraging the wildlife trade. Surely, this is not commensurate with the Department’s role to protect and conserve wildlife in its natural habitat. The proposed amendment promotes commercial venture for prospective private, national, or international entities benefitting from the wildlife industry and exotic animal trade, and strongly brings into question the Government’s ethics towards wildlife conservation and the communities dependent upon Nepal’s biodiversity.

I trust to your leadership to ensure conservation ethics, transparency, and accountability before making any decisions to involve private sectors in the management of our wildlife. Further, I urge you to reject the proposed amendment to the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 2029 and continue to conserve, not commodify, our wildlife.

Respectfully yours,

[SIGNATURE]
[NAME, DESIGNATION]

cc: Agni Prasad Sapkota, Honourable Minister, Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation Uday Chandra Thakur, Secretary, Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation info@mfsc.gov.np , webmaster@mfsc.gov.np, mfscmed@ntc.net.nep administrationdivision@mfsc.gov.np , law@mfsc.gov.np


Send Email

PETITION:

Government of Nepal – Don’t sell our wildlife!



Target: Fanindra Raj Kharel, Director General, Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, Ministry of Forestry and Soil Conservation, The Government of Nepal fkharel@gmail.com

Country: Nepal
Website: jginepal.org
Preamble:
[Short and succinct background]

THE PETITION:


We, the undersigned, call on you to terminate the proposed reform of the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 2029. The proposed amendment promotes commercial venture for prospective private, national, or international entities benefitting from the wildlife industry and exotic animal trade, and strongly brings into question the Government’s ethics towards wildlife conservation and the communities depending upon Nepal’s biodiversity.



The Jane Goodall Institute Nepal will present this petition to the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, Ministry of Forestry and Soil Conservation on……



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