By Ramesh Kumar Poude
Five persons arrested on the charge of poaching rhinos and dealing in their body parts have been sentenced to jail, Chitwan National Park (CNP) stated on Monday.
According to the CNP, the five poachers, who have been found guilty of involvement in smuggling rhino parts, are Ramsharan BK, Chhiring Palden Lama, Sher Bahadur Khati, Omnath Niraula, and Neema Lama.
The national park slapped a 15-year jail-term and a penalty of Rs 100,000 on Ramsharan BK of Makwanpur. He had been arrested with 12 pieces of rhino hoofs.
Law enforcement officials have long known BK as a notorious smuggler of rhino parts.
Another poacher Chhiring Palden Lama of Simikot, Humla has been handed down a jail-term of 14 years and a fine of Rs 100,000. Lama used to sell rhino horns purchased from Ramsharan BK to Chinese nationals.
A person convicted of killing rhino or involvement in trafficking of its body parts can be punished with a fine of Rs 50,000 to Rs 100,000 or a jail term of five to 15 years, or both, according to National Park and Wildlife Act.
Both Ramsharan BK and Palden Lama, who had been sent to jail recently, were arrested based on Sher Bahadur Khati´s statement during investigation.
Khati, who hails from Makwanpur district, was also arrested for his involvement in poaching and smuggling of rhino horns. The Chitwan National Park slapped Khati with 15-year imprisonment and a fine of Rs 100,000 after finding him guilty in three different cases of poaching.
Meanwhile, Omnath Niraula of Parsa district and Neema Lama of Kavrepalanchowk, who is currently living in Pokhara, were given jail-terms of 12 years and 15 years, respectively, for dealing in rhino parts. The CNP fined Niraula with a penalty Rs 50,000 and Lama with Rs 100,000.
Hena, a Chinese national, who bought rhino horn from Palden has not been arrested yet, reads a press release issued by Tikaram Poudel, an assistant protection officer, who is also a communications officer at the CNP.
The Chitwan National Park had handed down the sentences on July 1, but the verdicts were made public on Monday.