Nepal is party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) which has categorised endangered species and plants into three appendices on the basis of conservation. The orchid Paphiopedilum venustum is included in Appendix 1 because it is on the verge of extinction.
There are 128 species of orchids in Appendix 2, among which there are 29 belonging to the genus Dendrobium. Orchids in this list are endangered, but not near extinction, and their export is allowed under certain conditions.
The ‘Lady Slipper’ orchid named Paphiopedilum venustum is included in the CITES Appendix 1. This species is in very much demand because of its delicate beauty, which is why it has been extracted almost to extinction.
Also among the orchids of Nepal listed in the Critically Endangered category is Gastrochilus calceolaris which is popular in homes, hotels and office, but is absent from the government’s Checklist of CITES Listed Flora of Nepal. In addition, a dozen or so orchids that fall under the IUCN red list which are endangered or critically endangered, are not yet in the list either.
Likewise, Gastrodia elata which is much in demand for its medicinal properties in the treatment of cancer, gastritis, and bacterial infections is listed in Appendix 2 of CITES and is critically endangered in Nepal. This points to regulation failure in which export licenses have been given for critically endangered species.