24-30 November 2017 #885

Wildlife diplomacy

Buried in election-dominated headlines this past week were several items of news that did not get the attention they deserved. The first was the bomb threat at the Supreme Court on Tuesday that led to the premature closure of the Full Bench Restaurant & Bar.

But if you read the fine print, you’d have noted that the threat was made from a landline to the Supreme Court toll-free number by a guy who said he had ‘mistakenly planted three bombs in the court premises that will go off at 12:15’.

The other item, which bagged the First Runner-up Award in the Interesting News Category, was that Nepal has now attained self-sufficiency in egg production. As a country that has never been under a foreign yoke, it is good to know that henceforth we also have our own yolk.

The third item that caught the Ass’ attention this week was Mr Dalai Lama (Peace Be Upon Him) casting doubts about Gautam Buddha being born in Nepal. The likelihood of His Holiness being allowed to visit Lumbini is now even more remote. Even god-men need diplomatic skills, and HH the DL could learn a thing or two from Nepal’s mastery of the art of wildlife diplomacy.

One of the reasons Nepal was never colonised was because the British viceroys and emperors were allowed to hunt tigers and rhinos to the brink of extinction. Later, we dispatched charismatic mammals in exchange for hydropower plants and other infrastructure. There have been glitches, like the time a few years ago when a rhino named ‘Ramesh’ that was being shipped to Japan was nearly not allowed to travel because he had on him a horn that would have technically made him a trafficker in wildlife contraband.

Nepal’s zoological diplomacy, however, has not lived up to its full potential. We have a lot more animals we could ship off in return for stuff. The urban crow is an endangered species in many developed countries. Nepal has a surplus. The law of supply and demand dictates that we export the entire cohort of Kathmandu to a crow-deficit country like Norway as our roving ambassadors in exchange for salmon and red herrings.

Then there is the common housefly, which has been wiped out in Europe but of which we have swarms in Shyam’s Bus Stop Tea Shop, ready for translocation. The pack of howling dingos that defend the neighbourhood trash heap can all be sent off to South Korea where dogs are regarded as man’s best food. Not to be outdone, this Ass also offers himself up as ambassador and plenipotentiary to any country MoFA deems fit.

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