Network of wildlife criminals arrested in Chitwan for poaching and smuggling Rhino horns

Posted on 03 November 2011

The first complete chain of criminals involved in poaching and trading of the one-horned rhinoceros in Nepal has been detained by Chitwan National Park (CNP) authority.

Organizing a press meet at the Parks’ headquarter in Kasara on 25 October 2011, the CNP authority made public the 17 people held on the charge of poaching the endangered species and smuggling their derivatives. Rs. 900,000 ($11,465) was also confiscated from some members of this group.

The success of this operation, which lasted for ten days, is attributed to the close coordination among the authorities of Chitwan National Park, Criminal Investigation Bureau, Nepal Army and the local administration. WWF Nepal also played a vital role to achieve this success.

This arrest is being seen as a significant achievement since it has led to the complete breakdown of a network of poachers and smugglers right from the grassroots to the international level. A more interesting facet brought out by this operation was that one of those arrested, Tanjing Nima Lama, who runs an illegal trade network was legally declared dead in 2003; his family had submitted a false death certificate to the government then. Lama’s arrest is expected to lead the CNP authorities towards valuable information on the gamut of the poaching and illegal trade network in Nepal.

The CNP authorities are now carrying out a series of interrogations with the arrested criminals so as to acquire new and critical information on the network’s links both within the country and outside which could lead to fresh arrests in the future. The smuggling ring is believed to be part of a larger network involving Chitwan, Nawalparasi and Kathmandu in Nepal.

A group of arrested poachers and smugglers involved in rhino horn trade
© WWF / Madhav Khadka