Nepal begins probe into slaughter of endangered rhinos

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Kathmandu, June 15 (ANI): The Government of Nepal has said that it has begun a probe on the poaching and slaughtering of the endangered rhino in the Himalayan nation after wildlife experts revealed that 28 of them had been killed over the past 11 months. rime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and Forest Minister Deepak Bohara summoned conservation officials and the chiefs of police and army ordering them to come up with a strategy to halt the killings, The Telegraph reports.

The rhinos are protected by the government and the forests that they live in are declared conservation areas.

But security forces tasked with guarding the animals have been redeployed to urban areas following increased political turmoil in Nepal.

"Stopping the poaching is a major challenge for us. There is always an increase in poaching of wildlife in the conservation area when there is political problems," the paper quoted Department of Forest and Wildlife Conservation official Megh Bahadur Pandey, as saying.

Indian rhinos are native to northern India and southern Nepal. Only about 200 remained before tough preservation laws began to be stringently enforced in the 20th century.

Now there are an estimated 2,500 in the wild, though rhino poaching remains a serious problem.

The last count done in 2008 put the rhino population in Nepal at 435.

The Indian rhino is the second-largest of five living species, about three times the size of a Sumatran at up to 6,000 pounds, standing 6 feet tall and 12 feet long. (ANI)

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