Animal Nepal has requested the government of Nepal not to reintroduce the practice of gifting live animals to other countries. In letters to the Minister and Director General, Animal Nepal notes that using wildlife as ‘diplomatic gifts’ reduces animals to objects and leads to animal suffering.
“With animal welfare being high on the agenda around the world, wildlife gifting generally no longer is an appreciated diplomatic gesture,” writes Animal Nepal’s President Pramada Shah.
Nepal’s government recently announced its interest in reintroducing the practice of donating wild animals. Animal Nepal believes wildlife gifting was rightfully abolished after Nepal became a federal republic. Research shows that more rhinoceros have been gifted and sold by the Government than have been poached between the years 1980 and 1992.
According to Shah, wildlife gifting reduced animals into objects: “These often endangered animals suffer greatly while being trapped, transported and resettled. The long journey, and changes in habitat and general management in the new location lead to stress and disease, which is why many gifted animals do not fare well in their new home.”
The letter states that ‘Nepal has built its reputation as a conservation nation, with noted successes in for instance tiger, rhino, snow leopard and red panda conservation. Nepal should not undo its reputation by reintroducing wildlife gifting. Our mammals are too precious to be used as political tools. Instead you could invite diplomatic relations to visit Nepal’s majestic animals in their natural environment.”
The government is reminded that many nations have abolished wildlife gifting. India in 2005 prohibited the exchange of animals as gifts: “Many campaigns and even court cases are running to stop nations from donating certain animals, resulting in bad press for these countries.”
The organisation advises the government ‘to move with the times and choose more appropriate diplomatic gifts. Nepal has such a wealth of treasures that should not be hard to think of alternatives’.
The full letters to the Minister can be read here.