Nepal government decided on Sunday to gift two pairs of one-horned rhinos to China.
The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting held at Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s official residence.
China had requested Nepal to gift two pairs of rhinos during forest minister Agni Sapkota’s visit to the northern neighbour in January this year. The request was reiterated during Oli’s China trip in March.
During Sapkota’s trip, Beijing had agreed to provide financial and technical assistance to set up a forensic sciences laboratory near Kathmandu and also develop green economic corridors at two border points.
Nepal has 645 one-horned rhinos in the wild and the two pairs to be gifted to China will be selected from among the 605 in Chitwan National Park, which has the highest concentration of the species.
Nepal has gifted rhinos in the past to Bangladesh, Pakistan, USA, China and Germany. The last instance was in 2006, when crown prince Paras Shah gifted a pair to Austria.
Law and justice minister Agni Prasad Kharel told Kantipur daily that the gift of rhinos would further strengthen the friendly bilateral relations.