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Nepal Rhino Contingency Plan

Earlier, Resources Himalaya had designed and conducted Nepal’s first full length rhino population study “Count Rhino ’94. Since then, the government has periodically conducted several annual rhino surveys, following counting method and protocol developed by Dr. Pralad Yonzon, team leader of the Count Rhino ’94.

Nepal’s rhino conservation have had a classical success but met with unprecedented population decline because of poaching during the armed conflict and scientific want to monitor over 80 translocated rhinos in two protected areas outside Chitwan. Therefore, Resources Himalaya Foundation, in concurrence with the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation and Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, prepared the Contingency Conservation of the Rhinos in 2008.

Rhinos in Chitwan, Bardia and Shuklaphanta were nearly decimated during the armed conflict. Given the extreme poor quality of information and research on Chitwan rhinos and translocated rhinos in Bardia although they were supposedly fitted with radio collars, the Contingency Plan, prepared by Resources Himalaya prescribed the followings:

1) Provide agreed protective measures and legal mechanism on security and research surveillance to protect rhinos in protected areas, buffer zone, community forests and national forest

 2) Delegate independent monitoring authority regarding rhino poaching and illicit horn trade to: park personnel and the army inside the park; buffer zone management committees and NGOs in the buffer zone; district forest officials in the protected forests; NGOs and Police in Kathmandu Valley and urban centers within Nepal

3) Curtail immediately rhino translocation within country and gift rhinos abroad

4) Ensure financial emergency funds

5) Build a knowledge-based information system through in-countryresearch institution, independent of government, INGOs and NGOs so as to constitute a peer-review committee comprising of rhino experts, government officials and parliamentarians which can be called upon, should a crisis emerge.