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The India, Nepal and Bhutan governments are considering a joint task force for allowing free movement of wildlife across political boundaries.

The joint task force will also help in checking smuggling of wildlife across the Kanchenjunga Landscape.

According to a report in The Hindu, Kanchenjunga Landscape covers an area of 25,080 sq km spread across parts of eastern Nepal (21%), Sikkim and West Bengal (56%) and western and south-western parts of Bhutan (23%).

The forest officials and representatives of non-government organization of the three countries visited parts of the landscape and later held a meeting at Siliguri earlier this month.

From India, Ravinkanta Sinha, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, West Bengal participated in the meeting, whereas Nepal was represented by G.P. Bhattarai, Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation of that country. The Bhutanese delegation was led by Tashi Tobgyel, Department of Forest and Park Services, Bhutan. Representatives of South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network, an inter-governmental wildlife law enforcement agency, which held its first ever meeting in India in May 2018, were also present during the meeting.

According to the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development ( ICIMOD), a regional knowledge development and learning centre, 1,118 sq km of riverine grassland and tree cover were lost in the landscape between 2000 and 2010. 74 % of the area was converted into rangeland and 26% to agricultural land.

The Kanchenjunga Landscape is home to 169 species of mammals and 713 species of birds, apart from human populace.

Studies by the ICIMOD suggest that between 1986 and 2015, as many as 425 people were killed by elephants (an average of 14 human deaths every year) and 144 elephants were killed between 1958 and 2013 (an average of three elephants every year).

S.P. Pandey of SPOAR, a north Bengal-based wildlife organisation, who also participated in the discussion, said that every few months there were cases of elephants, rhino and gaurs and other mammals crossing over political boundaries, triggering panic among locals across the border and also posing danger to the wildlife.

NE NOW NEWS

Northeast Now is a multi-app based hyper-regional bilingual news portal. Mail us at: nenow24x7@gmail.com

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