Nepal arrests 14 over rhino poaching

Forest workers look at a dead rhinoceros in southern Nepal 31 July 2006 Rhinos horns are sought for use in traditional medicines, but are said to have no proven benefits

Related Stories

At least fourteen alleged members of a gang of rhinoceros poachers have been arrested in Nepal, officials say.

Those arrested include Buddhi Bahadur Praja, the alleged leader of a cross-border smuggling ring.

Police accuse Mr Praja of killing more than 12 rhinos in Nepal in the past six years. There has been no immediate comment from any of those arrested.

Researchers say rhinos are killed so their horns can be used in traditional medicines, despite no proven benefits.

"It was a joint operation by the Nepalese army and the special police," Kamal Jung Kunwar, a senior official at Nepal's Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, told the BBC.

"Fourteen people have been arrested in this operation in the past three weeks. We have seized two guns and four bullets from the gang."

Mr Kunwar said it was the biggest arrest of poachers in a single operation in recent years.

"It was one of our informers who provided us vital clues about the location of these poachers," he added.

Grave concern

Nepal's protected forests were estimated by a census in 2011 to be home to more than 500 rhinos, most of them in Chitwan National Park, about 120km (75 miles) south-west of the capital Kathmandu.

Nepal faced a serious problem of rhino poaching about 10 years ago when the country was affected by civil war between government forces and Maoist rebels.

In 2002, about 37 rhinos were killed by poachers, triggering grave concern over the future of one-horned rhinos.

Their population dropped from an estimated 612 in 2000 to less than 375 in 2005.

But numbers have increased to more than 500 after a series of anti-poaching measures were taken by the authorities.

"This year so far only one rhino has been killed by poachers in Chitwan Park," Mr Kunwar said.

Officials say there are more than 1,000 Nepalese soldiers in the Chitwan national park involved in anti-poaching activities. They operate from more than 40 positions, some deep inside the forest.

More on This Story

Related Stories

From other news sites

* May require registration or subscription

More Asia-Pacific stories

RSS

Features

  • Nigel Farage (left) and Douglas CarswellWho's next?

    The Tory MPs being tipped to follow Carswell to UKIP


  • A painting of the White House on fire by Tom FreemanFinders keepers

    The odd objects looted by the British from Washington in 1814


  • President Barack Obama pauses during a press conference on 28 August.'No strategy'

    Obama's gaffe on Islamic State reveals political truth


  • Chris and Regina Catrambone with their daughter Maria LuisaSOS

    The millionaires who rescue people at sea


  • Plane7 days quiz

    What unusual offence got a Frenchman thrown off a plane?


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.