Is it not enough that rhinos are in the list of endangered species, and we are in the way to make them extinct? The frequent killing news of the endangered one-horned rhino is really worrisome for conservationist and concerned authorities. Rhino poaching has become like a despicable trend in Nepal during this pandemic: one after another Rhinos are being murdered, ending the 4 years success of zero poaching.
Nepal has been praised as a model for nature conservation globally. But it’s a hard reality that 18 rhinos have died in the past 8 months of the current FY 2019-20 at Chitwan National Park. Among them, 4 rhinos were killed by poachers. The poaching is increasing so rapidly in this pandemic. Is it Okay?
In September 2020, a dead rhino of about 20 years of age was found with a bullet hole in its head in Laukhani post area of Nawalparasi inside CNP. According to Andha Nath Baral, Chief Conservation Officer at the park, recently, a female rhino and her calf were found dead in CNP and their horns were taken by the poacher.
More than 4,000 items of confiscated wildlife parts of 48 different species including 357 rhino horns were burnt in an attempt to demonstrate zero poaching and non-tolerance of illegal wildlife trade in Nepal. But the illegal trade in wildlife’s body parts and poaching is still rampant.
Although the Nepal government has formulated strict legal provisions for wildlife crimes, poachers are still unaware of the weight of their crime. They are lured by the greed and money that comes by illegal trading of rhino horns. The poachers don’t realize that rhinos are priceless; once they go extinct, they can’t be bought back even with all the money available on the planet!
The poaching rate is so ridiculous, not only in Nepal but also in the whole world. One-horned rhinos will soon face the extinction if the poachers continue to hunt them in the same rate.
Nepal government commitment should renew conservation efforts, especially to restrict recent surge in rhino poaching during Covid-19 pandemic.
There is a need for collaboration among the three tiers of government especially political stability, sound policy and new technology to control poaching and illegal trade of the body parts of the endangered one-horned rhino and increase the rhino population. Anti-poaching activities require coordination among National Wildlife Crime Control committees, wildlife conservation and monitoring authorities, security forces and local communities.
Realtime smart patrolling, enforcement of the strict laws, the establishment of The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau in every district of Nepal and counting on technologies like installing CCTV cameras at crucial locations to track the movement of people as well as wild animals is essential to minimize the potential of wildlife poaching.