CITES awards Certificate of Commendation to Nepal authorities for their combat against wildlife poachers and traffickers


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PRESS RELEASE

CITES awards Certificate of Commendation to Nepal authorities for their
combat against wildlife poachers and traffickers

Geneva, 23 March 2006 – The Secretary-General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has today awarded a Certificate of Commendation to the Royal Chitwan National Park Authority and to the Royal Nepalese Army to recognize their exemplary efforts to combat poaching and illegal trade in endangered species, in particular the leopard, the rhinoceros and the tiger.

During 2004 and 2005, officers from both the Authority and the Army arrested over 30 people for wildlife crimes: many of them were subsequently sentenced to prison. They also seized rhinoceros horns, tiger skins, and tiger and leopard bones, and confiscated illegal earnings as well as vehicles, weapons and ammunition.

The Certificate was presented during a ceremony at the offices of the CITES Secretariat. It was accepted on behalf of the Authority and the Army by His Excellency The Royal Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Nepal to the United Nations and other international organizations at Geneva. Accepting the certificate of commendation, Mr Gyan Chandra Acharya, the Royal Nepalese Ambassador, expressed the sincere gratitude of His Majesty’s Government of Nepal to the CITES Parties and the Secretariat for the recognition of the dedicated work of the Royal Chitwan National Park Authority and the Royal Nepalese Army to combat poaching and illegal trade in endangered species even in difficult circumstances, as per its commitment to international conventions. He further said that such commendation would encourage the authorities involved to work with further dedication to the cause of the protection of the endangered species and preservation of their biodiversity in the days ahead. He also assured that he would be pleased to forward the commendation to the respective authorities in Nepal.

Speaking after the presentation, Secretary-General Willem Wijnstekers said, “The poaching of animals such as tigers and rhinoceroses has brought some populations of these species to the brink of extinction. Many criminals involved in poaching do not hesitate to act violently towards law enforcement personnel, which makes the dangerous work performed by Park staff and by the Army in Nepal all the more impressive.”
Mr Wijnstekers also commended the Nepalese authorities for their strong commitment to protecting their country’s biodiversity during a period when law enforcement agencies face many other demands upon their time and resources.

The CITES Secretary-General began awarding Certificates of Commendation in 2002 to recognize exemplary enforcement actions by individuals or organizations that have contributed to the enforcement of the Convention.

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