Where hunting is allowed through bidding

By Manjima Dhakal

3Kathmandu, Aug. 5: Today there is a strict conservation law in Nepal and hunting is banned by law. One may be surprised but it is also true that lawful hunting of wild animals is allowed within a reserve in Nepal. 

The government has been allowing hunters to trophy hunt two species in Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve that spreads over Rukum, Myagdi and Baglung districts. Himalayan Blue Sheep (Naur) and Himalayan Tahr (Jharal) with thriving population are allowed to be hunted.
Hunting of 40 species of wild animals is prohibited in Schedule One of the National Park and Wildlife Conservation Act, 2029 of Nepal. Naur and Tahr are not in this list.
Nepal is also a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Prospective hunters, however, have to go through different levels of procedure of e-bidding before getting a hunting license.
The only hunting reserve of the country allows trophy hunting in two seasons in a year—in Spring (March, April) and in Autumn (October, November). But the hunting permission depends on the population increase of these animals in the reserve.
The reserve allowed hunting 15 blue sheep and six Tahrs last Spring, said Bishnu Shrestha, Under Secretary at the Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC).
Though anybody can bid for hunting, most hunters come to Dhorpatan Reserve from Europe. Competition in the e-bidding bidding price is the main factor. Nepalis rarely win the bidding. Four hunters from Russia, one each from France, Germany, Andorra, US, Canada and Belgium were selected for the hunting season last spring, Shrestha said.
Shrestha added that no Nepali hunter was selected for hunting till now.
It is good news for Nepal that hunters wanted to pay higher amounts in every other year to hunt at Dhorpatan. In last season a hunter paid Rs. 1.3 million to hunt a blue sheep. Last year, the highest hunting price stood at Rs. 700,000, Shrestha said.
Why do people want to come for hunting?
Shrestha said, “They are driven by a sense of adventure and fun. They return home with the trophy. They distribute meat of the hunted animal to local people.”
Hunters are allowed to hunt only mature male animals. Female animals are not allowed to be hunted because it directly affects population growth. A hunter cannot hunt an animal when it is drinking water or eating salty mud.
The reserve mobilises a conservation officer with a hunter to see whether he is abiding by the rules.
There are seven blocks in the Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve. The hunters are allowed to hunt only within the specified block in a given season.

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