Twelve suspects in three separate incidents have been arrested by Nepalese officials for smuggling rhino horns and pangolin scales into China.

A total of 12 wildlife traffickers were arrested in Nepal in a span of just a few weeks, including seven traders in rhino horn. (Photo: Lip Kee/Wikimedia Commons)

    On April 27th, six traders in rhino horn were arrested in Bardibas, Nepal and turned over to Chitwan National Park (Nepal) officials for prosecution.
    Ten days later, five people were arrested when police intercepted a bus headed from Kathmandu to the border checkpoint into China at Tatopani, and seized nine kilograms of pangolin scales that the smugglers had attached “to their thighs and other parts of the body with duct tape.


A week later police raided a hotel in Chandranigahapur, Nepal and arrested another trader with a rhino horn.

    Traders have long used the route through Nepali territory to the custom office in Tatopani, the main northern border check point into China, to smuggle endangered plants and animal parts.

Tatopani border point.

The customs office at Tatopani, Nepal. The main border point for trade between Nepal and China.

It’s believed that custom officials on both sides of the border are deeply complicit in the smuggling. All the Nepalese border points are hubs of concern for wildlife officials.