By Kevin Heath
Interpol has issued a Red Notice at the request of Nepal police for a wanted rhino poacher, Rajkumar Praja. He is currently on the run after being sentenced to 15 years prison for rhino poaching and trading in rhino horn. A Red Notice is an international wanted persons alert that is sent to police forces around the world.
Praja was part of an international gang that was involved in poaching rhino in the Chitwan National Park. Rajkumar Praja, 30, was part of a 13 member gang that was broken up earlier this year.
Nepal’s request for the Red Notice has been welcomed by INTERPOL’s Environmental Security unit as further evidence of the ongoing enforcement efforts by Nepalese authorities which have resulted in a sharp fall in poaching numbers and increased arrests.
“Given the increasingly international nature of wildlife crime, it is important for countries to look beyond their national borders and develop an international fugitive investigation strategy,” said David Higgins, head of the INTERPOL Environmental Security unit.
“With many criminals crossing borders, law enforcement needs to stay one step ahead to successfully address this crime. We would encourage all member countries to make increased use of INTERPOL’s global network in identifying and bringing to justice criminals who seek to profit at the cost of our environment,” added Mr Higgins.
A key area in effectively combating this type of crime is coordination with other regional and international organizations, including the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN).
“Wildlife crime is well organized at the transnational level. Collaborative efforts are essential to develop the capacity of the frontline staff to combat this crime,” said Mr Megh Bahadur Pandey, Chief Enforcement Coordinator of SAWEN and Director General of Nepal’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation. More....