XINHUA GENERAL NEWS SERVICE
May 29, 2000
KATHMANDU - Thanks to conservation efforts, the number of one-horned
rhinoceros in Nepal has increased to 612 from fewer than 100 more
than 30 years ago, Nepali ecologists said here Monday.
"The rise in rhino population shows great success in the conservation
of the endangered species," Thirtha Maskey, director general
of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation(DNPWC),
told a press conference.
Maskey said Nepal began serious rhinos conservation in 1973, when
the Nepali government enacted National Park and Wildlife Conservation
Act and prohibited poaching of rhinos.
The act stipulates that anyone who kills one rhino will be subjected
to a maximum of 15 years of imprisonment plus a fine of 100,000
rupees (more than 1,400 U.S. dollars).
In order to prevent the sharp decrease of the endangered rhinos,
the government also set up 15 rhinos conservation areas and regular
patrols were arranged to prevent poaching, said Maskey.
The number of one-horned rhinos dropped from more than 800 in the
1950s to fewer than 100 in 1973, due to lack of reservation areas,
rampant poaching and habitat destruction, said Narendra Pradhan,
an ecologist with DNPWC.
"Large numbers of people living in northern hills emigrated
to Chitawan plains in southern Nepal and destroyed rhinos habitat,"
Listed as endangered species by the Convention on International
Trade of Endangered Wild Fauna and Flora, one-horned rhinos can
only be found in Nepal and India. The total number of the animal
stands at around 2,000.