Malaysia deports man who killed 15 endangered rhinos to Nepal

Malaysia deports man who killed 15 endangered rhinos to Nepal

PETALING JAYA - Nepal's most wanted fugitive rhino poacher in recent years has been deported back to his home country after being arrested by Malaysian police.

National Central Bureau/Interpol assistant director Supt Gan Thek Guan confirmed that Rajkumar Praja, 31, was deported to Nepal on Sunday.

"He was here for nine days illegally, and he came in (to Malaysia) with different documents," he told The Star.

Gan said Rajkumar, who is wanted by Nepalese police, was escorted by the country's officers.

He confirmed that Rajkumar's poaching was done in Nepal, with none of his acts carried out here.

Further information would be revealed on Interpol's website in a matter of days, he said.

In 2013, an Interpol Red Notice - or international wanted persons alert - was issued at Nepal's request for Rajkumar.

He is currently wanted to serve a sentence of 15 years for poaching rhinos in central Nepal's Chitwan National Park.

A report by Nepalese daily newspaper Kantipur said Rajkumar has been on the run since 2013, and was said to have killed 15 rhinos.

The park is believed to house most of the country's 500-odd Indian rhinos, also known as the greater one-horned rhinoceros.

The Indian rhinoceros, classified as a "vulnerable" animal under the global IUCN Red List, can also be found in the northern parts of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.

WWF-Malaysia (World Wildlife Fund) executive director Datuk Dr Dionysus Sharma said Nepal had a "sterling" track record in recent years making sure that there was no poaching there.

"What may happen is that poachers may look elsewhere if they still want to ply their trade," Dr Dionysus said.

Wildlife trade monitoring group Traffic (South-East Asia) regional director Dr Chris Shepherd said it was good to see both Nepal and Malaysia cooperating against rhino horn traders.

The International Rhino Fede­ration website estimates that more than 3,200 of them are in India and Nepal, with the former having 85 per cent of them.

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