Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Nepal's Rhino Population on the Rise

A one-horned rhino in Chitwan National Park

A recent census in Nepal has shown that the population of rhinos have increased significantly over the last few years. It stated that the overall rhino numbers have risen to an astonishing 99 percent in Bardiya, Chitwan, and Shuklaphata National Parks. In the famed Chitwan National Park, rhino numbers increased by 95 percent from 408 to 503 animals. Similarly, two more have been sighted; each in Bardiya and Shuklaphata. In turn, taking the total number in these national parks to 24 and seven from 22 and five respectively. The result of this remarkable achievement was a well-coordinated state-sponsored program intended to save endangered species such as rhinos and tigers. Nepal even received support from the World Bank and international animal welfare organizations in its fight to save these magnificent creatures from extinction. Last year, the nation received an international laudatory notice for its national campaign and the role played by its vigilance agency, Army, and government. There was also a large scale use of radio collaring devices on the rhinos.

I'm very proud and happy at the progress Nepal has made in protecting and helping its rhinos. This is truly a remarkable achievement since Nepal has been known to act as a route for storing and smuggling animal body parts. But now, it appears that image is changing as Nepal put in a lot of its effort, energy, and money to fight this ongoing threat to its local wildlife. In the last couple years, the police, in partnership with NGOs and INGOS, have busted large illegal trade rackets. However, this does not goes to show that rhinos and the rest of Nepal's wildlife is safe. The threat of wildlife trade, with its network all over South Asia and in other parts of the world, is still looming. And as long as the demand in the black market stays, poaching will go on. I personally feel that the Nepalese Government should take this step in protecting its wildlife to a whole new level, where it should work together with its neighbors China and India. Last year, all three neighbors signed a memorandum of understanding but now the plan should be to actively communicate with one another concerning any poaching or wildlife trade activities. At the same time, each one should establish a state-sponsored program dedicated to involve local people in an effort to help save endangered species through education and collaboration. This way, it will further help each of the three nations' wildlife to flourish.

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