A rescued one-horned rhino died today in Chitwan after succumbing to bullet injuries 19 days after it was shot at by poachers.
The injured adult male rhino was found by park authorities on 20 August in Rautahat district in central Nepal, 25km away from Parsa Wildlife Reserve. It had received six bullets – four in its head and one each in the neck and abdomen.
Following information from locals who had heard gunshots in the nearby forest on the night of 19 August, a rescue operation was carried out by the park authorities and Nepal Army. The rhino was darted and brought to Chitwan on 21 August where it was provided the required treatment and medication.
“The rhino died from the bullet injuries particularly in the abdomen,” explained Dr. Kamal Prasad Gaire, senior veterinarian of Chitwan National Park who had been closely monitoring the rhino’s health. “From the time it was rescued, the rhino was very frail and could not move properly due to the bullet injuries,” he added.
The Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police has launched a manhunt for the poachers who are still at large.
“This incident is indeed a great tragedy for a country that has successfully celebrated 365 days of zero poaching of rhinos in four separate occasions since 2011,” stated Anil Manandhar, Country Representative of WWF Nepal. “This tragedy underscores the urgent need to double up security measures beyond protected area and buffer zone strongholds through coordinated efforts with the Department of Forests, enforcement agencies, local communities and conservation partners.”