'Zero Tolerance' Nepal Hits Huge Anti-Poaching Milestone

Elephants, tigers, rhinos avoid tragic fate for a full year
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 16, 2014 6:26 AM CDT
'Zero Tolerance' Nepal Hits Huge Anti-Poaching Milestone
In this Dec. 29, 2011 photo, a sixteen-day old baby elephant enjoys sun at an elephant breeding centre in Sauraha in Chitwan, Nepal.   (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

Poachers recently killed four rhinoceroses within a week in Kenya; last year, that number was 1,004 in South Africa. But in Nepal, not one was poached in the yearlong span that ended in February—nor were any tigers or elephants, the World Wildlife Fund reports. The country celebrated its second poach-free year March 3—World Wildlife Day, National Geographic reports. The year 2011 also saw no incidents, while 2012 had just one. The World Wildlife Fund applauds the efforts of rangers, police, and the army, as well as "community-based anti-poaching units."

Tigers and rhinos are clearly reaping the benefits. As of last year, there were 198 tigers in national parks, up from 121 in 2009. The rhino population was 534 in 2011, compared to 425 three years earlier. Poachers haven't fared nearly as well as the animals. Some 700 were arrested last year; many were considered "kingpins," National Geographic notes. "There is very much a zero-tolerance attitude to wildlife crime, whereby justice is often swift and harsh," says a consultant. (Read more Nepal stories.)

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