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    In Nepal, Rhino Poachers Are the Ones Being Hunted

    Written by

    Derek Mead

    Anti-poaching efforts are quite dangerous, with dozens of rangers killed in Africa last year as more African militias jumped into the wildlife trafficking game. But it's important work, and in Nepal, aggressive anti-poaching efforts have found success. As the above segment from the BBC shows, Nepalese conservationists and anti-poaching groups have turned poachers into fair game.

    At stake is the Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) which, as its scientific name implies, is the last of the one-horned rhinoceros on Earth. Aggressive conservation has turned the Indian rhino into a success story, with its population growing in recent years to the point that it's been upgraded from endangered to vulnerable by the IUCN.

    But the Nepalese population, which chills in the Himalayan foothills, is much smaller than its Indian counterpart. In Royal Chitwan Park, which the above segment focuses on, poaching caused the population to decline from 544 in 2000 to 372 in 2005, the last year for which the IUCN includes population estimates for that region. But thanks to comprehensive conservation strategies, numbers have rebounded. 

    "According to our last rhino census in 2011 the number of rhinos in the park has risen to more than 500," Kamal Jung Kunwar, a senior official at Nepal's Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, told the BBC.

    Those conservation efforts include increased intelligence efforts–which helps with both management and anti-poaching efforts–along with working more with locals on conservation work and the aforementioned anti-poaching initiatives. 

    It should come as no surprise that Nepal has found success in protecting its Indian rhinos. The country has become the model for conservation success in Asia, and has pretty much maxed out how much land it can dedicate to wildlife preserves. Better yet, those preserves are working, and the country recently had to make the decision to cap endangered species growth because it's simply running out of room. With poaching and trafficking producing a steady stream of bad news worldwide, cheers to Nepal's dedicated citizens who have given its rare species hope.

    @derektmead

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