IUCN members call for action against rhino poaching in Nepal

18 January 2007 | News story

Rhino poaching is the most pressing issue facing Nepal's wildlife today. With rhino populations shrunk by about a third since 2000, commission members of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) in Nepal submitted a petition to the Environment Conservation Committee of the Nepalese House of Representatives on 12 January 2007 to prompt immediate action in favour of Nepal’s rhinos.
 

Nepal ‘s one-horned rhinoceros population has declined from a population of 612 individuals in 2000 to only 405 today, with poaching being the main reason for this decline - at least 124 rhinos have been killed by poachers. While the country is fighting to boost the threatened rhino population, coupled with addressing the post-conflict recovery measures, the government, conservation organizations and civil society have been exploring several ways and means to support the conservation of this pachyderm Rhinoceros unicornis listed as “endangered” on the IUCN Red List.

To help respond to this crisis, on 10 January 2007 IUCN Nepal brought together members and experts to provide the Government of Nepal with sound scientific know-how and policy advice on how to address the rhino issues in Nepal. A total of 25 experts and core conservationists participated in the interaction programme.

To contain rhino poaching in Nepal, the meeting identified strategic immediate, short-term and long-term measures. The following recommendations have been made to the Government of Nepal:

Forming and mobilizing a special rhino protection squad;
Forming a high level parliamentary committee to assess the ground reality of what? Number of rhinos surviving? Reasons for poaching?
More concrete info would be good;
Forming a central multi-stakeholder rhino protection taskforce;
A detailed post conflict assessment of protected areas;
Reinstatement of army and forest posts;
Strengthening of community anti-poaching groups;
Mobilising local youths in anti-poaching activities;
Generating massive awareness and advocacy programmes;
Creating a Compensation Fund;
Implementation of the IUCN Species Survival Commission? Rhino Action Plan and CITES Bill; and
Assessment of rhino population through recounting in Chitwan and Bardia National Parks, and Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve
Meanwhile, in a bid to contain rhino poaching, IUCN Nepal handed over the much needed field gears and equipment to the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation required for the mobilization of their protection staff. A total of 10 units of tents, 30 sleeping bags and 30 mattresses were handed over for its immediate action in Chitwan National Park. IUCN Nepal also plans to hand over such field gears for rhino protection and monitoring in Bardia National Park and Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve.