Kathmandu, December 3:

The Supreme Court today issued an interim order to the government authorities to revive security posts which were removed in the past from the Chitwan National Park so that the merciless killing of rhinos can be brought under control.

A division bench of Justices Top Bahadur Magar and Pawan Kumar Ojha issued the order following a hearing today. The bench also directed the government authorities — the Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet and the Ministry of Forest and Social Conservation — to submit their clarification within 15 days on why the government had removed the security posts in the national park.

Advocate Raju Prasad Chapagain, representing Pro Public, an NGO, had filed a writ petition seeking the apex court’s order to protect the rhinos.

“If the same situation remains in the country, there will not be a single rhino in the country after 10 years,” the writ petitioner claimed. The petitioner also sought the SC’s order to set up a panel in order to protect endangered animals for their sustainable conservation.

A figure produced by Chapagain in the Supreme Court states that there are only eight security posts now in the Chitwan National Park when a few years ago there were 36 posts. The removal of the security posts have resulted in insufficient security for the rhinos and other endangered animals, resulting in their merciless killing.

Now there are only 351 rhinos when the total number of the rhinos was 544 in 2000. After that, 129 rhinos were killed illegally while 73 died naturally. During 2005 alone, 21 rhinos were killed, according to the petitioner.