UNESCO applauds Nepal’s efforts to protect rhinos and endangered species
As Nepal’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation recently announced that only one rhino was poached since 17 months in Chitwan National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Property, UNESCO applauds the Government for its action to protect endangered species particularly rhinos in its national parks.
Nepal is among 11 countries in the world where the one-horn rhino lives. There are currently 534 rhinos in Nepal, marking an increase of 99 rhinos from the 435 recorded in the last census in 2008. The most rhinos live in Chitwan National Park, where their number has increased from 408 in 2008 to 503 in 2011.
In an attempt to act coherently towards global initiatives, be it World Environment Day, the recent declaration of 2012 as the International Year of Rhino or the on-going Rio+20 process highlighting the intrinsic value of biological diversity, the authorities are presently preparing a strategy on anti-poaching and illegal wildlife trade and revising its rhino conservation action plan. In addition, they have initiated a trans-boundary relation with Valmiki Tiger Reserve in India through formal information sharing with officials and community.
“I commend Nepal’s efforts in conserving its great bio-diversity. This certainly helps maintain the outstanding value of the two National Parks, Sagarmatha and Chitwan, UNESCO World Heritage natural properties, inscribed in 1979 and 1984 respectively” says Axel Plathe, UNESCO Representative to Nepal.
The Director General of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, Krishna Prasad Acharya said: “No poaching has been reported since 4 April 2012. However, the regular arresting of poachers indicates that the threat remains to continue including illegal rhino horn trade. We are hopeful that this strategy and heightened anti-poaching operations together with improved management of habitat will have positive impact on rhino conservation.”
UNESCO believes that conserving biodiversity for life, one of UNESCO’s key messages for Rio+20, is one of the most important resources for sustainable development.
More than 1.3 billion people depend on biodiversity and on basic ecosystems goods and services for their livelihoods. UNESCO has recognized sites established by countries under its Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme, popularly known as UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. They seek to reconcile conservation of biological and cultural diversity, and economic and social development through partnerships between people and nature. There are currently 580 sites in 114 countries. Nepal has yet to identify such sites which could be ideal places to test and demonstrate innovative approaches to sustainable development.
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