Chitwan – Ninety persons accused of involvement in poaching of rhinos and smuggling parts of this animal from the Chitwan National Park (CNP) and its surroundings are on the loose, said the CNP.
Other 150 convicts in various cases of rhino poaching and smuggling are serving time at various prisons in the country, said information officer at the CNP Nurendra Aryal.
A search has been launched for the fleeing accused, he said. The Central Investigation Bureau of the police, the Wildlife Crime Control Unit of the CNP's Department, the District Police Office and its respective offices and Nepal Army deployed to provide security at the CNP have assisted in the search. A Red Corner notice has also been issued against the fleeing accused.
At least 176 rhinos were killed in the CNP by poachers/smugglers since 1995, with the figure sitting at 106 alone in the period between 2058 B.S. and 2063 B.S., according to the CNP. Thirty five rhinos were killed by smugglers in a single year of 2002. However, the country celebrated zero poaching years in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016 (no rhino was killed by smugglers).
Following Interpol notice against Raj Kumar Praja accused in a rhino smuggling, Malaysian police arrested and handed Praja to Nepal police in 2071 B.S. Praja has been charged with murdering 20 rhinos. A rhino poacher can get five to 15 years of imprisonment and is fined Rs 500,000 to Rs 1.5 million or both, according to National Park and Wildlife Act. ---