Park team arrests rhino poacherA team from the Chitwan National Park (CNP) has arrested a fugitive who was convicted of poaching an endangered one-horned rhino from the CNP four years ago.
A team from the Chitwan National Park (CNP) has arrested a fugitive who was convicted of poaching an endangered one-horned rhino from the CNP four years ago.
The team apprehended Ishwori Prasad Mahato of Kawasoti Municipality-10 in Nawalparasi district on Thursday. Assistant Conservation Officer Nurendra Aryal said the CNP had slapped Mahato with 5 years in imprisonment and Rs 50,000 penalty on June 24, 2014. He and six others were convicted of poaching the rhino at Krishnasar Buffer Zone Community Forest in Nawalparasi 10 years ago. The poachers then severed off the Pachyderm’s horn and smuggled it.
The CNP had filed a case against seven persons, including Mahato, for their involvement in the poaching. Mukti Prasad Guraun and Hiralal Mardaniya had already been detained while four other convicts are still at large.
According to Aryal, the CNP team was following Mahato—who had fled to India after the poaching—for the past one and a half months.
“Mahato told us that he had been staying in an Indian village that borders with Tribeni of Nawalparasi,” added Aryal.
Mahato was also charged with killing another rhino of the park. During the interrogation, Mahato admitted to the CNP officials that he and his group poached two rhinos and sold the horns separately at Rs 200,000 and Rs 100,000.
According to Aryal, 70 people who have been charged of poaching rhinos and smuggling their parts are still at large.
Rhino poaching has gone down in the past few years due to the improved conservation efforts and intensified security measures. In the last four years, only one rhino has been poached. However, the number of deaths of pachyderms in the park is alarming. According to the CNP, 51 rhinos died, most of them reportedly due to natural reasons, inside the park in the past two years.
As per the latest rhino count held in 2015, Nepal is home to 645 rhinos-605 in Chitwan alone.