Rare one-horned rhino killed by poachers in Nepal

Conservationists on April 3 captured a rare one-horned rhinoceros in Nepal as part of an attempt to increase the number of the vulnerable animals, which are prized by wildlife poachers. Five rhinos -- one male and four female -- will be released into a national park in Nepal's far west over the coming week in the hope of establishing a new breeding group. (AFP)
Updated 09 April 2017

Rare one-horned rhino killed by poachers in Nepal

Katmandu: Poachers have shot dead a one-horned rhinoceros at a national wildlife park in Nepal, officials said Sunday, spotlighting the threat faced by the rare animals.
Officials on Saturday found the male rhino with its horn gouged out in Chitwan National Park, the country’s biggest rhino conservation area.
“We performed a post-mortem and found that it had been hit by a bullet on its head,” the park’s spokesman Nurendra Aryal told AFP.
Aryal said a team had been set up to investigate the incident and security had been tightened at the district borders.
In September last year a rhino died weeks after poachers shot it in the same park, the first of the rare animals to be killed in the country in over two years.
Thousands of one-horned rhinos once roamed the plains of Nepal, but their numbers have plunged over the past century due to poaching and human encroachment on their habitat.
The population decline was particularly dramatic during Nepal’s 1996-2006 civil war, when soldiers on anti-poaching duties were redeployed to fight the Maoist guerrilla insurgency.
But the country has since made rapid progress in combating the poachers who kill the animals for their prized horns, drawing praise from conservation groups and activists.
The horns fetch huge prices in some Asian countries where they are used for medicines and jewelry.
Nepal is home to about 645 rhinos, out of which about 600 live in Chitwan National Park.
The park is in the process of relocating five rhinos to another conservation area in far-west Nepal to boost their population.
Shant Raj Jnawali, a rhino expert at WWF, said the latest death highlighted the vulnerability of the animals despite anti-poaching efforts from the community, park wardens and army.
“We hope that the investigation will help us devise new strategies to strengthen protection for these animals,” Jnawali said.
Rhino poaching carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in jail and a 100,000-rupee ($1,000) fine.


Trump signs order targeting social media giants' legal protections

Updated 53 min 42 sec ago

Trump signs order targeting social media giants' legal protections

  • President lashed out at Twitter for applying fact checks to two of his tweets

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump escalated his war on social media companies, signing an executive order Thursday challenging the liability protections that have served as a bedrock for unfettered speech on the internet.
Still, the move appears to be more about politics than substance, as the president aims to rally supporters after he lashed out at Twitter for applying fact checks to two of his tweets.
Trump said the fact checks were “editorial decisions” by Twitter and amounted to political activism. He said it should cost those companies their protection from lawsuits for what is posted on their platforms.
Trump and his allies, who rely heavily on Twitter to verbally flog their foes, have long accused the tech giants in liberal-leaning Silicon Valley of targeting conservatives on social media by fact-checking them or removing their posts.
“We’re fed up with it," Trump said, claiming the order would uphold freedom of speech.
It directs executive branch agencies to ask independent rule-making agencies including the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission to study whether they can place new regulations on the companies — though experts express doubts much can be done without an act of Congress.