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Rhino poaching spikes: Experts
Published By: Kantipur Report         on: 2011-03-01
KATHMANDU, Sept 16 - Poaching activities in recent years are posing a serious threat to the long-term conservation of the endangered Asiatic one-horned rhino in both Nepal and India, experts said on Monday.
Speaking at a function prior to the commencement of a meeting on the topic 'Conservation of Indian rhino in South Asia', the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests in Assam,  M. C. Malakar, said a network of poachers is actively involved in the increased poaching activities in both countries.
Nepal saw a drastic decline in the number of rhinos from 2005 to 2007 due to poaching in its major national parks while at the same time the Kaziranga National Park (KNP) and other wildlife reserves in India boasted robust rhino numbers, he said.
"However, the situation is the reverse now. Rhino conservation is on a positive track in Nepal whereas the situation is worse in India," Malakar added.
According to him, the rhino conservation in KNP was successful between the years  1998-2006 as poaching was in single digits. But in 2007, more than 18 rhinos in KNP perished at the hands of poachers.
Similarly, Annapurna Nanda Das, director general of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC), said there is a need of trans-boundary meetings betw-een the two countries to conserve these endangered species more effectively.
"We are facing a serious problem of poaching and habitat destruction, so it is time to go for the best alternatives to conserve our rhinos for generations," he said.
Another speaker, country conservation representative of the Worldwide Fund for nature conservation Ghanashyam Gurung, said now is the time to work for potential habitats for rehabilitation and relocation of the rhinos. "We should work for the restoration of best habitats and strong patrolling mechanisms for rhino conservation in the long term," he said.
The two-day meeting on conservation of Asiatic rhinos began Monday at the Chitwan National Park. Rhino experts from both India and Nepal are attending the meeting organized jointly by DNPWC and the Asia Rhino Specialists Group (South Asia).

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