Govt decision to free poachers opposed

Kathmandu, September 22:

The Wildlife Watch Group (WWG) today protested the government’s decision to free convicted poachers under suspicious circumstances.

A statement issued today said the decision of the government has encouraged the racket of poachers to keep up their illegal trade.“It is objectionable to release such convicted inmates,” says the press release.

Earlier, WWF Nepal, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and Asian Rhino Specialist Group (ARSG), have expressed alarm and deep concern following the news of rhino poachers freed recently.

“The release of nine convicted rhino poachers and traders by the government will devalue the efforts that conservationist from within the government, communities and partner organisations have worked so hard to achieve in the past decades for saving rhinos in Nepal,” states a joint statement issued by WWF, IUCN and ARSG.

The government had recently freed nine inmates in charge of poaching rhinos in the name of marking Loktantra Day. Those freed were Palta Mahato, Kujuwa Mahato, Harilal Chaudhary,

Rana Bahadur Kumal, Lok Bahadur Rai and Riphal Rai who were in jail for several years.

Ram Sharal BK, Buddhiram Mahato and Buddhi Bahadur Praja were also freed.

According to the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 1973, those convicted of poaching of endangered wildlife species like the rhino face sentences of between five to fifteen years and/or a fine of up to Rs 100,000.