Female rhino and her calf found dead inside Chitwan National Park

Nepal: A female rhino and her calf were found dead with their horns missing inside Chitwan National Park on Tuesday evening. A team of park officials found the decomposed bodies of the mother and baby rhino in the western part of the park.

“We conducted postmortem of the decayed bodies on Wednesday. Poachers had killed the rhino and its baby for their horns around two months ago,” Ashok Ram, information officer of the park, said. The animals had been shot in their heads. “The mother rhino is around 20 to 25 years of age and its baby is around three years old. The poachers also took the baby’s horn,” said Ram.

The mother and baby rhino were killed in the same area where an adult rhino was found dead with a gunshot wound in its head on September 1. Park officials suspect that the dead rhinos found on Tuesday evening might have also been killed around the same time.

In the last few years, incidents of rhino poaching had lowered even though rhinos were found dead due to natural causes in the park area. According to the official data of the park, rhinos have not been killed by poachers since April 8, 2017. But rhino poaching has picked up in this fiscal year inside the park area, say officials.

The data of the park showed that 12 rhinos died of natural causes and various other reasons in the current fiscal year. In the last fiscal year, 26 rhinos were found dead in the park, whereas 43 rhinos died in the fiscal year 2018/19. “All of these rhinos died of natural causes,” said Ram.

Nepal is home to 645 rhinos—605 in Chitwan, 29 in Bardiya National Park, eight in Shuklaphanta National Park and three in Parsa National Park, according to the 2015 rhino census. According to clause 26 of the National Park and Wildlife Conservation Act 1973, anyone found guilty of killing a rhino is liable to a fine of Rs 500,000 to Rs 1 million or can face imprisonment for up to 15 years, or both. But this time, park officials have not arrested anyone for killing a female rhino and it’s baby until now. “We are investigating the details of the matter. We are yet to make arrests,” said Ram. 

Source: (The Kathmandu Post)