By Rameshkumar Poudel
Chitwan National Park (CNP) on Monday celebrated ´Zero Poaching Year´ as it marks a successful year without any poaching of one-horned rhinos inside the park.
Thanks to the efforts of the park administration in securing the endangered animals, not a single case of rhino poaching occurred throughout the year since February 17 of 2013.
Organizing a special function at the park, CNP official Bishnu Thapaliya broke the news of the achievement to media persons and others invited there.
“This has to be our biggest triumph after years of ceaseless efforts in conserving these endangered animals. Kudos to the park officials and security guards for their hard work in making this possible,” said Thapaliya.
This is the second time CNP is celebrating ´Zero Poaching Year´. It achieved the feat for the first time in 2011.
But the conservationists are cautious when it comes to celebrating such an achievement as a rhino was poached inside the park merely three months after CNP announced the first ´Zero Poaching Year´.
Nonetheless, no poaching throughout the year is a huge achievement of the park, which houses a total of 503 rhinos -- the largest rhino concentration in the country, compared to the previous decades, especially the year 2002 when 37 rhinos were killed.
Over the past one year, CNP guards have not only saved the rhinos but also nabbed 44 poachers.
CNP Chief Conservationist Kamal Jung Kunwar thanked the local residents for their cooperation in saving the rhinos.
“The credit does go to the locals, too, because they listened to our request on the need to save these endangered animals. Had the locals not heeded to our concerns, we would not have been able to celebrate this achievement,” said Kunwar.
In an attempt to beef up the security measures, CNP officials have already established 123 security posts inside the park with 1,100 Armed Police Force personnel, backed by trained dogs, patrolling the park area round the clock.