Research Article

The poisoning of rhinos and tigers in Nepal

Esmond Bradley Martina1

a1 Esmond Bradley Martin, PO Box 15510, Mbagathi, Nairobi, Kenya.


Although it is a poor country, Nepal has been responsible for one of the greatest rhino conservation success stories. In 1968 its population of greater one-horned rhinoceros Rhinoceros unicornis was estimated at 81–108 individuals; by 1990 the population had increased to 400, a tremendous achievement for a country with very limited financial resources. However, in 1990 the government collapsed and the enforcement of law and order was not very effective. Rhinos were poached for their horns and tigers for their bones. Poachers started poisoning rhinos, apparently copying the methods used previously for killing nuisance tigers. The author, who visited Nepal in 1991, reports on these new threats and discusses what needs to be done to remedy the situation.