The Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police has arrested six persons, including three Indians and a Pakistani national, who was allegedly involved in smuggling protected live animals of various species to Nepal from Nigeria.
Those arrested are Sanjeev Bhari, 40, of Kathmandu; Raj Kumar Tiwari, 42, of Bara; and Mohammad Usman, 34; Mohammad Fahim, 35, and Mohammad Sherif Shahid, 35, of India; and Jawaid Aslam Khan, 55, of Pakistan.
SP Jeevan Shrestha, the CIB spokesperson, said two chimpanzees, eight monkeys, seven golden pheasants, two ringneck pheasants, 38 pigeons and 65 parrots were seized from them.
Acting on a special tip-off, CIB had raided the house of Bhari in Bansbari, Kathmandu, on October 18, leading to the seizure of wild animals and birds.
According to a report published in The Himalayan Times, the final destination of the apes are said to be India. “Preliminary investigation suggests the racketeers would smuggle apes to India from Nigeria by making Nepal their transit,” SP Shrestha informed. The apes were brought to Nepal from the African country by air, but officials at Tribhuvan International Airport failed to intercept the animal species.
They have been handed over to District Forest Office, Kathmandu, to initiate legal action under National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act. Anyone involved in the trade of protected species may be slapped with a fine up to Rs 100,000 and a jail term of five to 15 years. Meanwhile, the animals and birds rescued alive have been sent to the Central Zoo.
Usman is a repeat offender and was arrested with109 tortoises and 162 birds of different species from Kathmandu in June last year. Police raided a house and recovered the reptiles and birds kept in boxes and cages. Officials said the tortoises, which weigh three to five kilograms each, and the birds, including several varieties of parrots, were smuggled into Nepal from India.
It is believed the seized animals were to be illegally transported to China, where they would end up in restaurants or thriving markets in Vietnam selling animals and birds.