Biggest ever seizure of Shahtoosh in Nepal



Posted on 11 January 2013  | 
A Truck loaded with the seized Shahtoosh wool
© WWF NepalEnlarge
 The Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of Nepal Police was successful in confiscating over 1,000kg of Shahtoosh (locally known as Chiru wool) from Gorkha District on January 6, 2013. The seizure is probably the biggest ever, both in terms of size and monetary value, in Nepal

A team deployed by CIB confiscated the Shahtoosh from Kyorpani and Soti areas of Thumi VDC in the northern belt of Gorkha district which is about 160km west from Kathmandu. The Shahtoosh was contained in bags and stored at the residence of Purna Jung Gurung of Thumi VDC. Gurung, along with an accomplice, is presently under arrest.

The CIB made public the 46 bags of Shahtoosh seized that is known to be worth millions of dollars in the international market on 7 January 2013. Primary investigations carried out by CIB revealed that the Shahtoosh was smuggled from bordering villages of Tibet into Nepal through the Ngula Dhojang pass. The Shahtoosh was then transported to Soti Khola after crossing several villages in the Manaslu circuit trekking route. The CIB is presently carrying out further investigations to identify the other traders involved in this trade.

Shahtoosh, also known as ‘the King of Wools’, is the down hair of endangered Tibetan Antelopes which can only be obtained by killing the animal. The Tibetan Antelope (Pantholops hodgsonii) is listed under Protected Species under the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 1973 of Nepal and also listed under appendix-I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

If found guilty, the culprits can be fined NRs. 75,000 or face up to 10 years of imprisonment or both.

Police and wildlife experts said that in order to extract the amount of seized wool, thousands of Tibetan Antelopes must have been killed.

“WWF Nepal lauds the government’s concerted efforts in curbing the illegal trade of wildlife,” stated Mr. Anil Manandhar, Country Representative of WWF Nepal. “WWF Nepal considers wildlife crimes the biggest challenge for conservationists today and extends its full support to the government and related conservation partners to help fight this challenge,” he added.

For further information please contact:
Diwakar Chapagain,
Program Coordinator
Wildlife Trade Control Program
WWF Nepal
A Truck loaded with the seized Shahtoosh wool
© WWF Nepal Enlarge
Shahtoosh Wool
© WWF Nepal Enlarge

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