“Global environmental degradation will affect countries like Nepal more because of our sensitive topography,” writes IBPES researcher from Nepal, Uttam Babu Shrestha in a Kantipur op-ed this week. “Proposed large infrastructure projects will have lasting negative impacts on the environment.”
Nepal has been successful in curbing domestic poaching, but it is a major transit point for wildlife contraband en route to China. The presence of smugglers means the country needs to be vigilant about a revival in poaching. It is a conduit for tiger and leopard pelts, rhino horns and other endangered species. Earlier this year, 200kg of pangolin scales bound for China were found at Kathmandu airport.
“Nepal may be landlocked in every other aspect but it is land-linked when it comes to smuggling,” Tirtha Bahadur Shrestha told Nepali Times.
The good news is that Nepal’s conservationists, planners and the government know what the problems are, as well as the solutions. The country also has vast experience in balancing nature conservation with meeting human needs. It just needs a long-term strategy and all stakeholders to work towards protecting our abundant biodiversity.