Zero rhino poaching in Nepal in 2011

None of the more than 500 Greater One-horned Rhinos living in Nepal were poached in 2011. Click image to enlarge © Gerald S. Cubitt / WWF-CanonFebruary 2012—In 2011, Nepal recorded zero rhino poaching. It was a remarkable achievement given the global surge in illegal killing of rhinos.

Speaking at an event held to celebrate this remarkable conservation success, Krishna Acharya, Director General of Nepal’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC) and Chief Enforcement Officer of the South Asian Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN), attributed the achievement to the co-ordination between government agencies, conservation partners, local communities, and security forces.

Key had been the creation of a wildlife-focused body within the DNPWC and increasing the number of rangers from 7 to 51 to step up security within the 5 parks along Nepal’s lowlands.

More than 500 Greater One-horned Rhinos live in Nepal, the vast majority of them in the stronghold of Chitwan National Park.

Demand for rhino horn has soared in recent years, especially in Vietnam, where it is purported to be able to cure cancer and has gained popularity as a cleansing agent.

The high black markets price has resulted in organized criminal gangs poaching the animals and smuggling their horns.

Nepal’s conservation success is testament to the effectiveness of measures taken in the country to curtail the poaching surge, which saw a record 448 rhinos poached in South Africa alone in 2011. Earlier this month, South African authorities issued a warning that the total killed there had already exceeded 50 animals in 2012.

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