. At least 14 members of a rhino horn smuggling gang, including the gang leader, have been arrested in Nepal in the beginning of this month.
Buddhi Bahadur Praja, 55, the alleged leader of the cross-border smuggling ring, was accused of killing more than 12 rhinos in the past 6 years.
“He would supply the rhino horns to Kathmandu-based smugglers who would supply them to Tibetans,” explained Tikaram Paudel, an official at the Chitwan National Park.
According to Kamal Jung Kunwar, a senior official at Nepal’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, it was the biggest arrest of poachers in a single operation in recent years.
Kunwar told the BBC: “It was a joint operation by the Nepalese army and the special police.
“Fourteen people have been arrested in this operation in the past three weeks. We have seized two guns and four bullets from the gang.”
Rhino poaching in Nepal carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in jail and a 100,000-rupee fine.