Nepal embarks on 'rhino diplomacy' with rare gift to China

Published: July 12, 2018
SHARES
Email
In this file photo taken on November 30, 2011 one-horned rhinos gather near water in Nepal's Maghauli Chitwan forest. Nepal on July 12 gifted China a pair of endangered one-horned rhinos in a diplomatic gesture. PHOTO: AFP

In this file photo taken on November 30, 2011 one-horned rhinos gather near water in Nepal's Maghauli Chitwan forest. Nepal on July 12 gifted China a pair of endangered one-horned rhinos in a diplomatic gesture. PHOTO: AFP

KATHMANDU: Nepal on Thursday gifted China a pair of endangered one-horned rhinos in a diplomatic gesture to its powerful neighbour and major investor.

The young male and a female rhinos, Rudra and Rupsi, boarded a charted flight bound for Guangzhou along with a team of Nepali experts.

“The rhinos were loaded in the plane in their crates and are on their way now. They were healthy and doing well,” Man Bahadur Khadka, chief of Nepal’s department of parks and wildlife conservation said.

This picture taken on July 10, 2018, shows a wildlife official pouring water onto a crate carrying a one-horned rhinoceros to be loaded onto a truck as it is being sent to China as a gift. PHOTO: AFP

This picture taken on July 10, 2018, shows a wildlife official pouring water onto a crate carrying a one-horned rhinoceros to be loaded onto a truck. PHOTO: AFP

The rhinos are expected to be released into a safari park in Guangzhou.

Nepal to relocate five rare one-horned rhinos

KP Sharma Oli had promised China the rhinos in 2016 during his previous tenure as Nepal’s prime minister.

This gift comes shortly after Oli’s visit to China last month when, as Nepali prime minister once more, he signed deals with Beijing including a railway linking Tibet and Kathmandu.

“I hope that this exchange will help strengthen the friendship between our nations in the coming days,” Oli said at a ceremony Thursday for the rhinos attended by China’s ambassador to Nepal, Yu Hong.

A second pair of rhinos is being prepared to be sent as well.

This picture taken on July 10, 2018, shows a crate carrying a one-horned rhinoceros being loaded onto a truck as it is being sent to China as a gift, in Chitwan National Park. PHOTO: AFP

This picture taken on July 10, 2018, shows a crate carrying a one-horned rhinoceros being loaded onto a truck as it is being sent to China as a gift, in Chitwan National Park. PHOTO: AFP

Nepal is seeking closer ties and much-needed energy and infrastructure investment from China, which has flexed greater economic and diplomatic muscle in its Himalayan neighbour in recent years.

Nepal’s rhinos on road to recovery with cross-country move

They are not the first recipients of Nepal’s “rhino diplomacy”.

The landlocked Himalayan nation has gifted at least 22 rhinos to other countries, including six to the US and four to India.

 In this file photo taken on November 30, 2011 one-horned rhinos gather near water in Nepal's Maghauli Chitwan forest. PHOTO: AFP

In this file photo taken on November 30, 2011 one-horned rhinos gather near water in Nepal’s Maghauli Chitwan forest. PHOTO: AFP

Thousands of one-horned rhinos once roamed the southern plains of Nepal but rampant poaching and human encroachment on their habitat reduced their numbers to around 100 in the latter part of last century.

A successful anti-poaching and conservation initiative has seen the population steadily climb over the past decade to around 645.

Facebook Conversations

Leave Your Reply Below

Your comments may appear in The Express Tribune paper. For this reason we encourage you to provide your city. The Express Tribune does not bear any responsibility for user comments.

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. For more information, please see our Comments FAQ.

More in World