Viral video falsely claims elephants sent from Nepal to Qatar

Kathmandu, April 25

A video of an elephant riding a truck is going viral on social media recently. In the video, the elephant is seen leaning on a tool and climbing onto the trolley of the truck.

Many social media users are sharing this video saying that this is the elephant that is going to be sent from Nepal to Qatar.

However, it is not true. Misinformation is being spread on social media that the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who came to Kathmandu on Tuesday, returned home on Wednesday and an elephant was also sent along with him.

The elephants which are said to be sent to Qatar are in Khorsor, Sauraha, and Chitwan. The Ministry of Forests and Environment said that it will take a few more days to send the elephant to Qatar as some international legal procedures have yet to be completed.

The spokesperson of the ministry, Badri Raj Dhungana, said that it will take time to send the elephants from Nepal to Qatar as technical and administrative matters have to be arranged. He said, “Sending elephants is not like offering something to someone, it has its procedures, which are yet to be completed.” After the process is completed, Qatar will hand over all the necessary details including elephant caregivers, procedures for treatment, monitoring etc within the system.

According to him, according to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), an agreement and a CITES permit are required for their transportation. However, the CITIS license has not yet arrived to deal with elephants.

Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amrit Kumar Rai, informed that the elephants were not sent from Nepal along with the Emir of Qatar because the process of international treaty agreement was not completed. “Under the elephant protection diplomacy, Nepal was told to give a pair of elephants to Qatar as a gift, but as all the legal and administrative procedures have yet to be arranged, the elephants have not been sent with the King of Qatar,” said Ministry spokesperson Rai.

What is the CITES Convention?

To solve the problem of illegal trade in endangered wild animals and plant species spread around the world, on March 3, 1973, an international conference was organised in Washington, DC, the capital of the United States, under the coordination of the World Conservation Union.

At that time, representatives from 80 countries of the world participated in the conference and signed an international convention for the protection of endangered species of wild animals and plants. The same convention was named ‘Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)’.

The Site Convention was passed in 1973 and has been implemented since July 1, 1975. In 1975, Nepal became the 12th party to the CITES Convention. According to the latest statistics, 180 countries of the world are parties to this convention.

Ronaldo’s children’s gift to Qatar

As both Nepal and Qatar are parties to the CITES Convention, Qatar needs to obtain the permission of the World Conservation Union before agreeing on elephant gift transactions. Now the permission process is yet to be completed.

Ganesh Prasad Tiwari, information officer of Chitwan National Park, said that only after the agreement is completed in the Ministry of Forests, it will be decided when the elephants will be sent from Nepal.

The elephants that Nepal is going to give to Qatar as a gift are Khagendra Prasad and Rudrakali. Khagendra Prasad is a male elephant and Rudrakali is a female elephant.

Khagendra Prasad was born in Koshikali on September 24, 2016, and Rudrakali was born from Poojakali on October 9, 2018. Khagendra Prasad and Rudrakali’s father is a famous wild elephant named Ronaldo.

Although Nepal has gifted rhinos, crocodiles, buffaloes and leopards to friendly countries, it is the first time that elephants are about to be given. Qatar has prepared to keep those elephants in the Doha Zoo.

From 1985 till now, Nepal has given 26 rhinoceros, 10 gharial crocodiles, two leopards and one wolf as gifts to various countries.

According to the records of the Wildlife Conservation Department, Nepal has gifted six rhinos to the USA, four to India and four to China. Likewise, two rhinos have been gifted to Singapore, Bangladesh, the UK, Australia, Germany and Japan, respectively.

Similarly, Nepal has given six gharial crocodiles to France and two gharials each to Germany and Bhutan. Saudi Arabia received two leopards and Japan received a wolf as a gift from Nepal.

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