WHAT WAS THIS ANIMAL’S CRIME???
This rhino was found dead in a jungle in Chitwan. Pics by Narayan Sharma
Poachers cut it’s horn and legs
By Dinesh Wagle
Wagle’s Web Log (A blog for an animal)
What’s your relationship with a rhino in a jungle in Chitwan, Nepal? Nothing personal? You might be true but if there is something called humanity that must be extended to the animals of this world as well. You can see double standard in me because I am a non vegetarian. I eat meat just like vegetables but that doesn’t mean non vegetarians shouldn’t take part in campaigns to save Rhino (I don’t eat Rhino meat though). I was in Chitwan last week to report about International Elephant Race. A speaker in the prize distribution ceremony said, “When I was child, I used to hear the slogan “Save Tiger”. Now we don’t have tigers [in big numbers] anymore. Now we are saying “Save Rhino”. If we just talk and do nothing we won’t be able to save rhinos and we will start saying “Save Chicken”.” The speaker received clapping from the crowd as everyone in the ground (where elephants raced) seemed to be agreeing with him. Barely a week after that, we were told yesterday forest officials in Chitwan found a dead poached two weeks ago in the jungle not far from the ground. (see box news)
As I have mentioned in this article, the elephant race was overshadowed by the peoples’ concern about the safety of rare rhinos of Nepal. Everyone talked about the need to save rhino. (Tourists come to see rhino by riding elephants, they said, and we must the animal.) Hoteliers in Sauraha, tourist district in Chitwan, are seriously concerned about the recent increase in rhino killing because they feel their business will be jeopardized if tourists stopped coming to Chitwan. People are killing rhino for meager Rs. five thousands, some said, and those killers don’t know that what they sell for that amount will be sold in for thousands of dollars in international market. “We should find the poachers and provide them alternative jobs so,” another opined.
One horn rhino of Nepal like this one is being killed every week or so as Nepalis quietly watch.
I heard all sorts of conspiracy theories related to rhino poaching. One man said, “Have you given a thought why rhinos are being killed one after another after democracy was restored in Nepal in April?” He suspected that some regressive and royalist elements and smugglers having old connections with THE “murti chor” and “khag taskar” [idol thief and rhino horn smuggler] are doing all this in a coordinated manner to make it appear that the democratic government is unable to save rhinos. Some blamed Maoists for creating unnecessary obstruction to National Park security and compromising security of rhinos. Some blamed Nepali Army for not doing enough patrol in the national park and nab the poachers. “Those people who are creating hue and cry are behind rhino killings,” said one skeptic.
Whatever the conspiracy theories are, one thing is clear that political will power to save rhino is clearly lacking. It feels strange to talk about political will power in an article about rhino but this is true, if all local political players are united in their crusade to save this animal, we won’t have to turn the pages of books to show our children a rhino.
Amnestied rhino poachers at it again
By Pragati Shahi
Rhino poached yet again: Chitwan forest officials informed Tuesday (Jan 2) that they found a dead rhino two weeks ago at Saktikhor VDC. “The rhino was killed by poachers and its horn and hooves were missing,” said Babu Ram Bhandari, district forest officer. The spot where the poaching took place is nearby the Maoist cantonment at Saktikhor. “It’s about 100 metres from the main camp,” said Bhandari. Similarly, CNP officials have found an injured female rhino with a calf. The rhino has injury to its horn. How it was injured is not yet known. Rhino poaching has become rampant in recent months. Twelve rhinos have already been killed during the last five months alone.
In another development, two of the nine poachers released from jail on September 19 under a general amnesty by the cabinet were nabbed by security forces at Chitwan National Park (CPN) a few days ago, along with poaching equipment and guns. The duo, whose names are mysteriously being kept secret by the Park officials, have been detained at CNP head office at Kasara, Chitwan.
“It’s true that the duo are under our detention,” said Tikaram Adhikari, Project Manager at the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC). But Adhikari said he didn’t have the names of the poachers and referred to Laxmi Manandhar, spokesperson at DNPWC. When contacted Manandhar said, “The files have been misplaced. I have to find them first to tell you the names.”
The cabinet’s decision to release the notorious poachers on the occasion of “Democracy Day” drew widespread flak from conservationists and the like. This is not the first time that a poacher released un der amnesty has been found poaching again. District Forest Office (DFO) guards had arrested four other poachers a week ago. “Among the arrested is Sukaram Bote, who was also released from jail a few years ago without completing his term,” said a DFO source. (source)
1. The talks of rhino in an elephant race (in Nepali language)