Four rhinos killed by poachers in the national park till date since Shrawan of the current fiscal year


As many as 14 persons have been charged with killing one-horned rhinos and smuggling rhino horns from Chitwan National Park (CNP). Organising a press meet today in Chitwan, CNP made public the persons who were arrested on various dates since December 18.

Four rhinos have been killed so far by poachers in the national park since Shrawan of the Nepali calendar, of the current fiscal year, destroying the record of zero rhino deaths at CNP for the last couple of years.

Following the increase in poaching incidents this year, authorities had made changes in their regular strategies and started searching for the poachers, informed Ananath Baral, Chief Conservation Officer at CNP. The national park, Batuk Dal Battalion of Nepali Army mobilised for the park's security, and Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of Nepal Police took the accused into custody from various locations of the country.

Authorities arrested Shiva Narayan Mahato (42), also known as Palla, from his home in Kawasoti Municipality-7 of Nawalparasi; Jit Bahadur Kumal (49) alias Rana Bahadur, and his wife Indra Maya Kumal of Shyalbas in Bharatpur Metropolitan City-28, from Chormara of Nwalpur; Hari Prasad Tharu (35) and his wife Bishnu Maya Gurung of Banke, from Ittabhatta of Gaindakot Municipality-1 in Nawalpur; Suk Bahadur Gurung alias Ashok Gurung, and a person known as Kale (32) of Gaindakot-1, from Gorkha.

As per the statement provided by the arrestees, seven others were also found involved in the latest killings of the rhinos and are being searched by the authorities, CNP claimed during the press meet. Meanwhile, the national park has also disclosed that leads have been discovered in the old cases of rhino poaching, following which multiple arrests have been made.

Authorities arrested Birman Singh alias Tara Chepang of Kalika Municipality-9 in Chitwan, and Kailash Babu Aale of Gorkha Municipality-7 from Gorkha Bazaar. Similarly, Som Bahadur Gurung (32) of Besisahar Municipality-10 in Lamjung was arrested from Kathmandu while Durga Bahadur Sarki (32) alias Durga Bhujel of Madi Municipality-9 was taken in from Bardibas of Mahottari.

Likewise, Mekh Bahadur Nepali (35) alias Nabin Paudel of Bagmati Rural Municipality-3 in Makawanpur, currently residing in Gokarneshwor of Kathmandu; Nange Tamang Lama (61) of Mugu, currently residing in Bouddha, Kathmandu; Yonden Gyamjo Tamang (21) alias Yongan of Boudhha, Kathmandu; and Hari Bahadur Magar (33) of Aabukhaireni Municipality-5 in Tanahun have also been arrested in connection with the old poaching incidents.

After the investigation and statement from the arrestees, additional 18 persons involved in old rhino poaching cases have been found to be absconding, and search is on for them, added Baral.

Meanwhile, authorities have also confiscated two muzzleloader guns, a vehicle (Ba 14 cha 2350), a motorcycle ( Province 3 - 03001 Pa 6453), 23 bundles of fake money made out of newspaper cut-offs, and six bank vouchers worth Rs 4.1 million.

Among the arrested, Jit Bahadur Kumal was reportedly involved in rhino poaching five times, Suk Bahadur Gurung two times, Birman Singh Praja three times, and it has been revealed that they were also involved in smuggling rhino parts for a long time.

Case has been filed against the arrested persons under the National Parks and Wildlife Conversation Act 2029 BS (1973 AD) and they will be taken to the District Court today itself, Nawalpur, informed Baral.

(Translated by Sandeep Sen; Edited by Priyanka Adhikari)