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Community and Technology Together to Control Poaching in Nepal

For the fifth time since 2011, Nepal’s Chitwan National Park (CNP) recorded a zero rhino poaching year. The government and conservation groups have adopted community-led initiatives and technological tools to protect wildlife, reports China Global Television Network.

The Details:

  • During the 1900’s even though the vast area of forest was cleared for agriculture, the prevalence of malaria protected the core habitat of Rhinos.
  • Nepal government sprayed DDT in a bid to eradicate malaria from 1950 to 1954. The locals again cleared a vast area of forest and the rhino population reduced from 1,000 to barely 100 in the 1980s.
  • Nepal government has now adopted the zero poaching framework with the aim to protect the wildlife. The government has also formed National Tiger Conservation Committee, Wildlife Crime Control Coordination Committee, Wildlife Crime Control Bureau to protect Rhinos, Tigers, and Elephants.
  • Authorities had beefed up the surveillance program after the incident when poachers killed an adult male Rhino in the buffer zone.
  • The recent ivory and Rhino horn trade ban in China and Yemen crisis have also helped to control poaching.
  • Local communities are provided with 25 percent of forest ownership to encourage them to save wildlife and also reduce poverty.
  • Community-based anti-poaching units are formed for monitoring Tigers and Rhinos.
  • The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Google enhanced local surveillance through an anti-poaching project. A closed-circuit camera system was installed on main infiltration routes.
  • Drones and Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tools (SMART) and a trained team of sniffer dogs were deployed with the park staff and Nepal Army in anti-poaching patrols in 2014.

Sources:

  • According to Bed Kumar Dhakal, Chief Conservation Officer of CNP, the completion of a zero poaching year for Rhinos is indeed a commendable feat and the continuation of this requires the support of everyone.
  • Ghana Gurung, Country Representative of WWF Nepal mentioned that Nepal is probably one of the leading countries when it comes to showcasing anti-poaching results.
  • Gurung also mentioned that the learnings from this success can be a good resource for countries that are in the fight together against poaching.

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