Pro Public has secured an interim order to stop the cross-border smuggling of endangered wild elephants in Nepal. Despite the species’ vulnerability, the Nepalese government has not shown any willingness to uphold their legal commitment to protect them. 

This order is in response to the attempted illegal trade of ‘Ashakali,’ a 50-year-old captive female elephant owned by World Resort, along with other captive elephants. The collapse of tourism due to the Covid-19 pandemic has been used as an excuse for the illegal trade of elephants, with alleged buyers predominantly based in India.

According to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITIES), threatened and endangered wild animals, including elephants, cannot be domesticated, and they cannot be traded across borders without the permission of authorities. In addition, the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act deems any act of illegally buying, selling, or transferring wild animals, including elephants, a punishable offense. In Nepal, elephants were being kept captive without registration and were also being traded without the approval of the Department of National Parks. Until now, the authorities have been silent regarding the illegal trade of elephants.

The granted interim order requires the respondents to:

  1. Immediately prevent cross-border smuggling, sale, transfer, and other activities of endangered wild elephants.
  2. Within one month from the date of issuance of this order, elephants should be registered and documented under Rules to Regulate and Control International Trade in Endangered Wild Fauna and Flora. Any elephants not registered will be confiscated in accordance with Rules to Regulate and Control International Trade in Endangered Wild Fauna and Flora and kept in the control and protection of the concerned authorities. 

Congratulations to the team at Pro Public!

For more information contact:
Sanjay Adhikari
Pro Public Coordinator
Email: foepropublic@gmail.com