Two Nepali Army men among three held with rhino horns

Kathmandu, February 11

The Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police has arrested three persons, including two Nepali Army personnel, with two rhino horns from Kathmandu.

Superintendent of Police Jeevan Shretsha, CIB spokesperson, said Hari Bahadur Dhakal, 33, and Dil Bahadur Dhakal, 38, of Gorkha, and Krishna Bahadur Magar, 26, were held in possession of the body parts of the endangered wild animal from Lainchaur yesterday.

As Hari Bahadur and Krishna Bahadur were NA personnel, the duo have been handed over to NA Headquarters, Bhadrakali, while Dil Bahadur was kept in the custody of District Forest Office, Kathmandu, for necessary action. The rhino horns confiscated from them weigh 1,180 gram and 640 gram, respectively.

SP Shrestha said the trio were looking for prospective clients of the wildlife parts when CIB nabbed them. Anyone involved in poaching of and trading endangered wild animals can be slapped with a fine up to Rs 100,000 and a jail term of five to 15 years as per the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1973.

According to police, racketeers are found to be using Kathmandu as a transit for smuggling wildlife body parts to foreign countries, mainly China. Police said they had arrested 107 suspects, including 10 foreigners, with body parts of 47 endangered animals in Kathmandu in 2016-17, the highest in the past five fiscals.

The number of people arrested with animal body parts in the fiscals 2015-16, 2015-14, 2014-15 and 2013-14 stood at 105, 71, 93 and 64, respectively. Police investigations show that local poachers usually come to Kathmandu with wildlife parts in search of prospective clients and sell them to racketeers, who eventually smuggle the contraband into foreign countries.

National Rhino Count 2015 show that Nepal is home to a total of 645 one-horned rhinoceros which is 111 more than the count of 2011. Chitwan National Park provides habitat for 605 individual rhinos and is the largest rhino bearing protected area in the country, says the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation.