Rhino diplomacy

Published: Thursday 30 September 1993

THOUGH under increasing pressure from conservation groups, Kathmandu is yet to impose a moratorium on giving away baby rhinoceroses to friendly countries as gifts. Animal lovers contend the government is actually selling the animals, because they are being shown as gifts against payments for rehabilitation and conservation.

Conservation groups also insist that trading in rhinos violates the convention on international trade in endangered species, which Nepal has ratified.

So far the government has given away 25 baby rhinoceroses as "gifts". Conservation measures, taken after a UN study in 1967 found only 90 rhinoceroses in Nepal, helped to increase their population to 350.

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