25 one-horned rhinos die in Nepal's largest rhino habitat
Kathmandu: At least 25 endangered one-horned rhinos died in Nepal's largest habitat of the pachyderms during the 2016-17 fiscal.
According to the Chitwan National Park (CNP), out of the total deaths during the last fiscal, 21 died a natural death while four others died due to poaching activities and electric shock.
"We have recorded death of 25 rhinos last year where 21 had natural deaths, two died due to electric shock and two died in course of poaching," CNP's Assistant Conservation Officer Nurendra Aryal told.
Two poaching incidents occurred during the last fiscal, thereby ending the successful two consecutive years of zero poaching of these creatures.
A one-horned rhino, shot in last August by the poachers in a forest in Rautahat district of Nepal, died in the course of medical treatment after two weeks while the second rhino was shot dead in April after its horn was hacked out.
Rhinos are regularly killed by poachers for their body parts, especially their horns which are believed to be worth thousands of dollars in the global market.
The horn is also regarded as a traditional medicine in some countries.
Government records show that most poaching occurred during the decade-long armed conflict in Nepal between 1996 and 2006, the report said.
CNP, located some 150 km from the capital city, is renowned for protection of the one-horned rhinoceros.
According to the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, out of a total 645 rhinos in Nepal, over 600 are in CNP alone.
Meanwhile, CNP transferred eight rhinos to two different national parks in the last fiscal year.
The relocation is part of a decision of Nepal's Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation in 2015 to transfer 30 one-horned rhinos from CNP to two national parks within three years.
"During the 2016-2017 fiscal, we relocated five rhinos to the Far-Western Region-based Shuklaphanta National Park and three rhinos to the Bardiya National Park. The relocation process will continue during this fiscal as well," Aryal said.
The relocation of rhinos aims to prevent possible epidemic dangers and natural disasters and increase the population of healthy rhinos, the report said.