KATHMANDU, Feb 28: The Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) on Saturday arrested a notorious rhino poacher who killed more than 15 rhinos in Chitwan for the past few years.
The rhinos, all from the Chitwan National Park, were killed for their horns that fetch high prices in the black market.
The poacher is Kajiman Praja, 32, of Korak-9 in Chitwan and he has killed six rhinos in less than a year. Praja has been listed by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature as the deadliest rhino poacher of the time. He was arrested by the CIB´s virgin operation hunt.
Praja´s is a rags to riches story. He would employ his wives and two other female members of his family for rhino poaching and has so far earned at least Rs 15 million by selling rhino horns.
One-horned rhino is an endangered animal and its population in Nepal is around 435.
The arrest of Parja, who hails from the backward Chepang community that chiefly resides in the periphery of the park, which is home to most of the country´s one-horned rhinos, has raised hopes among conservationists and served a major blow to poachers.
"We are very happy that CIB has nabbed a kingpin who single-handedly rendered conservation efforts ineffective," said Diwakar Chapagain, the country director of WWF.
Need for sustainable approach
DIG Rajendra Singh Bhandari, the CIB chief, says operation hunt is the first high-profile venture undertaken to fight organized crimes in the wildlife sector.
"Now we will look into the arteries of wildlife crimes that portray Nepal as a major transit in the world," he said. "We see that our investigation into wildlife crimes could reveal their linkages to other organized criminal rings that thrive on smuggling."
Chapagain has similar impressions. "In place of Kajiman, they could pose a Ramman or somebody else if this problem is attacked at its roots," he said.
Bhandari also holds that an integrated program should be developed targeting the backward communities residing alongside major wildlife habitats.
Tiger bones seized
CIB has also cracked down on a major racket trading in tiger bones. Three smugglers were arrested by a CIB team from Birgunj recently allegedly in possession of 15 kg of tiger bones, which could fetch around Rs 1.5 million in the black market. Two smugglers involved are still at large.