Rolling out BCC campaigns to sensitize transportation workers on legal provisions related to wildlife crime regarding transporting goods along with the legal implications one can face if concerned authorities find illegal goods (wildlife parts) being transported on a vehicle, and to sensitize transportation workers on wildlife crime and encourage them in supporting the country’s strategy in ending illicit wildlife trade.
Nepal is endowed with exceptionally rich biodiversity and provides refuge for globally significant wildlife species, including snow leopard, red panda, brown bear, musk deer, wild ass, rhino, tiger, Asian Elephant, dolphin, gharial, etc. Similarly, Nepal is a repository of medicinal and aromatic (MAPS) plants, and other commercially valuable flora as well.
However, the biodiversity in Nepal is under immense threats. Key wildlife populations including rhino, tiger, snow leopard, musk deer, red panda and other protected species are still threatened by poaching and illegal trade of their body parts. Huge number of different MAPS and other commercially valuable plant species are extracted illegally and traded. Several seizures of wildlife parts such as skin and bones of tiger, leopard and snow leopard; plants and their bi-products; and arrest of poachers and illegal traders in these landscapes imply that Nepal is used as a major hub and transit country by organized wildlife poachers and illegal wildlife traders.
The Environment Investigation Agency (EIA) reports that Nepal is used as a transit point for illicit trade of wildlife parts and derivatives. Commodities such as shahtoosh, fur, musk pods, bear bile, tiger skin and bones, ivory, rhino horn, leopard parts and live animals (turtles, birds), etc. are mostly traded off through Nepal.
According to Trade Record Analysis of Flora and Fauna in Commerce (TRAFFIC), the wildlife trade-monitoring network, transportation and logistics businesses such as passenger and cargo airlines, shipping companies, express couriers and freight forwarding companies are becoming increasingly vulnerable to exploitation by illegal wildlife traffickers. In Nepal, it has been detected that vehicle, air and by foot have been used for illegal wildlife trade in and across the border. Especially, there are porous borders with India in East, West and South and difficult terrain in the North with China. Because of this borders’ connectivity, Nepal is, all the time, vulnerable country to be used as transit point or trade route for illegal wildlife trade. The highways that connect to China are vulnerable for the same. The seizures/arrest reports verified the statement.
Thus, transportation workers and other logistics business workers such as lorry workers, truck workers, and cargo workers need to be sensitized on illegal wildlife parts trade. For this, the transportation workers that ply the public vehicles in the Highways have been sensitized on conventional methods. But to impact the target group in an effective way, a research was recently conducted by MITRA Samaj under WWF Nepal-supported assessment which suggested the methods that could be useful in sensitizing transportation sectors as well as general people on combating wildlife crime effectively. The research provided some recommendations about the best appropriate methods that could be adopted in sensitizing transportation sectors and relevant stakeholders in the highway linking south and north. WWF Nepal commissioned MITRA Samaj with the project “Combating Illegal Wildlife Trade to Transportation Workers Using BCC Tools” to implement the BCC campaigns and tools.
Major activities of the project includes scouting for identification of appropriate intervention sites in different cities along the Parsa-Mustang and Rupandehi-Mustang Roadways, and implementing the BCC campaigns and messages. The sites include bus parks, garages, parking lots, tea stalls, bazaar areas, etc.