Nepal Cracks Down on Indian Wildlife Criminals
5 June 2006
Hot on the
heels of news of tiger poaching in Nepal, a wanted Indian wildlife
criminal was arrested in the capital on 4th June in connection with the
international illegal trade in tiger, leopard and otter skins, reports
local wildlife group Wildlife Conservation Nepal (WCN).
Authorities at Chitwan National Park had issued a warrant for the
arrest of Indian wildlife trader, Jagdish Lodha, believed to be the
kingpin of a major network of poachers and dealers operating across
India and Nepal. Lodha was captured under citizen’s arrest by WCN
and handed over to Kathmandu Police.
“The capture of Lodha illustrates how vital it is for India and
Nepal to exchange enforcement intelligence”, said Prasanna
Yonzon, CEO of WCN. “Hailing from the Bawaria community in India
he used to bring skins from central and northern India, now he and his
gang are targeting our big cats”.
Seven of Lodha’s associates are currently behind bars having been
caught red-handed with two tiger skins, four leopard skins and 40 kg of
tiger bone in two separate incidents in April 2006. Lodha is believed
to manage 50 families of Bawaria poachers, many of whom are now camping
out in Nepal. In the last ten years Lodha is reported to have sold over
30 tiger skins to dealers in Nepal who supply the lucrative markets in
Tibet and western China. His father too is involved in poaching and was
arrested following the seizure of iron traps in a wildlife sanctuary in
India in November 2005.
Despite the setback’s associated with Nepal’s current
political situation, enforcement authorities have continued to target
these organized networks of criminals, cooperating with WCN who have
assisted with the provision of actionable intelligence in a timely
“Building trust, transparency and the will to collaborate on
trans-national enforcement is vital in the fight against international
wildlife crime, between governments and civil society”, stated
Yonzon, who cited information from the Wildlife Protection Society of
India regarding Bawaria poachers as key to Lodha’s capture.