Chitwan National Park records 1st rhino poaching in 3 years


CHITWAN: A one-horned male rhinoceros, supposed to be around 14- years-old, was killed in the Chitwan National Park, which had witnessed zero rhino poaching for 1071 days.

Once the dead single-horned Asiatic rhinoceros was spotted by the locals at Hariyali Banhatta of Jagatpur in Bharatpur Metropolitan City -23  on Saturday morning, they informed the CNP.

A sharp shooter, suspected to be one of the 100 absconding rhino poaching convicts, had shot the rhino bull on its temple with a rifle on Friday night, according to the Chief Conservation Officer Ram Chandra Kandel at CNP.

However, the gunshot was not heard by anyone in the Park due to the storm at the night, said Kandel.

Poachers had cut the horn of the animal with an axe, the shaft of which was found into two pieces at the incident site, said Kandel, adding that the postmortem was carried out on Saturday itself.

Kandel noted that the poachers took advantage of the situation that security personnel were focused on the May 14 local level elections; and the Park staff, Nepal Army deployed to safeguard the wildlife reserve therein and the conservationists were transferring  rhinos to the Shuklaphanta National Park.

Meanwhile, the Central Investigative Bureau of Nepal Police and the investigative team from the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conserves have reached  Chitwan, which share the protective area of the CNP along with Nawalparasi, Parsa and Makwanpur districts.

Last year, five rhinoceros were taken to the Bardiya National Park, located at the mid-western region of the country.This year too ,  the process of transferring 5 rhinos to Shuklaphanta National Park was advancing.

Since May 3, 2014, there was not any incidence of rhino poaching thanks to the modern and scientific security mechanism that the CNP embraced for the wildlife conservation.

During the decade-long Maoist insurgency, the highest number of one-horned rhinos had been poached. The CNP records show that as many as 37 rhinos lost their life at the hands of poachers in the fiscal year 2001/02 alone.

A four-layer security strategy, which includes mobilisation of Nepal Army, Nepal Police, National Park rangers  and networks of local people assigned to inform law enforcement agencies about any criminal activities -- has been implemented to control poaching of the wild animals.

Earlier, it was reported that increased cooperation among the CNP staff, Nepal Army and Nepal Police had helped to achieve the zero poaching.

More than 600 rhinos dwell in Chitwan, according to the 2015 rhino census. The previous census in 2011 had shown that there were 503 rhinos in Chitwan National Park and adjoining areas.