Authorities in Nepal have arrested a 47-year-old wildlife trafficker at his home, 15 years after he and two poachers were found guilty of killing a rare rhinoceros in the country’s largest national park, officials said yesterday.
Bhagana Darai was among three poachers who, in 2002, killed a rare rhinoceros in Chitwan National Park and left with its horn.
The park is located some 120km southwest of Kathmandu, said park spokesman Nurendra Aryal.
“The other two were arrested at the time, but he had been on the run. We were able to arrest him yesterday [Monday] after a tip-off,” he said.
The poacher had been living in India and had arrived at home to celebrate the annual festival of Dashain, said Aryal.
The two other poachers have already served a 15-year jail sentence, he said, adding that a court had already handed down a 15-year jail sentence to Darai.
Nepal’s anti-poaching initiatives – such as a crackdown on poaching and community-driven conservation – have helped the country save endangered rhinos.
In early 2015, Nepal arrested Raj Kumar Praja, a kingpin of a smuggling ring involved in killing 20 rhinos between 2004 and 2010 in the country.
He had fled the country on a fake passport and was living in Malaysia after a court slapped him a 15-year jail sentence
Nepal is home to 645 rhinos, with Chitwan National Park hosting the largest number – more than 600 – of the wild animals.
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