Poachers having a swell time in Bardiya park?

Tourists witness rhinos being killed

Kathmandu, May 15:

A couple of French tourists said here today that government authorities did nothing to arrest poachers though they informed about the poaching of two rhinos in the Bardiya National Park on April 4 and 23.

“It was all horrible. We came across the most tragic incidents of the year in the wildlife sector, but could not make the government arrest poachers,” said Berangere Duforets alias Sundari, a wildlife lover, who had been living near the park for past seven months.

Duforets has been frequenting Nepal for nine years.

Most of the time, she stays near the Bardiya area. She is also president of the Sundari Wildlife Project in France.

She said that after the first incident, she went to the chief warden’s office, but he was indifferent. “We got a feeling that nobody is interested in wildlife conservation in Nepal,” she said.

Duforets said the tourists do not want to witness heinous crimes being committed. “Nepal is now drafting a new constitution. I appeal to all concerned to mention animal rights in the constitution,” she said.

Patrice Correia, a French wildlife photographer, said, “To see a poached wild animal in the jungle is horrible.”

“We arrived just several hours after the rhino was killed in a river bank. With the help of a friend, we moved the body and I saw that its eyes were still bright. I became sentimental,” he said, adding that the army men prevented him from taking pictures.

“As a wildlife photographer, I have been showing the world how beautiful Nepal’s wildlife is. Now, I cannot stop myself from taking pictures of ugly sides.”

Dr Annapurna Das, a joint-secretary at the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation, admitted that instances of poaching have increased in recent days.

“We need to forge a coordination among security bodies, political parties and local communities to bring things under control,” he said.