17 Arrested in Nepal for Rhino Horn Smuggling

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Busted!


Authorities at Chitwan National Park have reportedly arrested 17 people in connection with a rhino horn smuggling operation.

The smuggling ring is believed to be part of a larger network involving Chitwan, Nawalparasi and Kathmandu, according to The Himalayan Times.

Chief Conservation Officer Jhamak Bahadur Kark said that Rs. 900,000 ($11,465) was confiscated from the gang.

Greater one-horned rhinos in Nepal

One of the three Asian rhino species, greater one-horned rhinos (Rhinoceros unicornis) were once widespread throughout the northern floodplains and nearby foothills of the Indian sub-continent between Indo-Myanmar border in the east, and Sindh River basin, Pakistan in the west.

Nepal’s most recent rhino census found that the population of greater one-horned rhinos has increased to 534. The count was conducted in April 2011, and revealed an increase of 99 rhinos since the last count in 2008.

Chitwan National Park was found to have 503 rhinos, while 24 reside in Bardia National Park, and Shukla Phanta Wildlife Reserve holds seven of the precious pachyderms.

Today, the remaining 2,949 (includes the new census) greater one-horned rhinos are found only in a few protected areas in northeastern India and lowland Nepal.

Traditional medicine myths continue to threaten rhinos

Although the greater one-horned rhino population is steadily increasing, these rhinos remain under threat of being killed for their horn.

Despite the fact that extensive scientific analysis has confirmed that rhino horn has no medicinal value, myths and superstitions about rhino horn persist throughout China and Vietnam, where rhino horn is considered a key ingredient of traditional Chinese medicine.

How to help

To learn more about our efforts to help support public awareness activities in Nepal, check out Update from Nepal: A Successful Year of Raising Public Awareness About Rhino Conservation.

We appreciate your help in educating others through sharing our articles, and for your continued support through rhino t-shirt sales.


Image: By Krish Dulal (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

Rhishja Cota-Larson

I am the founder of Annamiticus, an educational nonprofit organization which provides news and information about wildlife crime and endangered species. I am the Editor of Rhino Horn is Not Medicine and Project Pangolin, author of the book Murder, Myths & Medicine, a writer for the environmental news blog Planetsave, the host of Behind the Schemes, and Producer for the upcoming documentary The Price. When I'm not blogging about the illegal wildlife trade, I enjoy gardening, reading, designing, and rocking out to live music.

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