KATHMANDU, Feb 21 (Xinhua) -- Nepal Police have unearthed a smuggling racket of wild animal parts, in which it has suspected that at least 10,000 Tibetan antelopes have been killed to extract rare wools from the endangered animal.
In a month-long operation named "Cobra", Nepal Police seized 1, 580 kg of Tibetan antelope wools from two Nepali districts ( Dhading and Gorkha) adjoining Tibet of China.
"To collect this much amount of wools, our investigation suggests that the poachers and smugglers must have killed at least 10,000 Tibetan antelopes," said Senior Superintendent of Police, Uttam B. Karki on Thursday.
The market value of the rare wools, locally known as shatoosh or chiru, stands at about Rs 5 billion (around USD 59 million).
Along with the rare wools, police also seized around 200 kg of tiger hides and skin and 125 kg of tiger teeth from Nuwakot and Gorkha in central and western Nepal, respectively.
Police have arrested seven poachers and smugglers in this connection and have expressed worry over the development of a smuggling route passing through Nepal.
Poaching and smuggling of body parts of wild animals is growing in Nepal. Only a few days ago, police arrested two smugglers from Baudha of Kathmandu with pangolin scales, ivory, hides and skin of wild animals and some international currencies.
Two more were detained with rhino horns in Itahari of southeast Nepal, while one was caught with red panda skin in Nuwakot district nearby Kathmandu.