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06 December 2013 - Media release

Nepal requests INTERPOL Red Notice for wanted rhino poacher

LYON, France – At the request of Nepal, INTERPOL has issued a Red Notice, or international wanted persons alert, for Rajkumar Praja wanted for rhino poaching and trading internationally in rhino horns.

The 30-year-old Nepalese national is wanted to serve a sentence of 15 years for poaching rhinos in the Chitwan National Park, and the Red Notice comes after law enforcement officials in Nepal dismantled a network of 13 poachers earlier this year.

Nepal’s request for the Red Notice has been welcomed by INTERPOL’s Environmental Security unit as further evidence of the ongoing enforcement efforts by Nepalese authorities which have resulted in a sharp fall in poaching numbers and increased arrests.

“Given the increasingly international nature of wildlife crime, it is important for countries to look beyond their national borders and develop an international fugitive investigation strategy,” said
David Higgins, head of the INTERPOL Environmental Security unit.

“With many criminals crossing borders, law enforcement needs to stay one step ahead to successfully address this crime. We would encourage all member countries to make increased use of INTERPOL’s global network in identifying and bringing to justice criminals who seek to profit at the cost of our environment,” added Mr Higgins.

A key area in effectively combating this type of crime is coordination with other regional and international organizations, including the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN).

“Wildlife crime is well organized at the transnational level. Collaborative efforts are essential to develop the capacity of the frontline staff to combat this crime,” said Mr Megh Bahadur Pandey, Chief Enforcement Coordinator of SAWEN and Director General of Nepal’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation.

“SAWEN Secretariat and INTERPOL have started their joint efforts to build the capacity of frontline staff in law enforcement in South Asia. SAWEN Secretariat would like to appeal to all wildlife enforcement networks and international agencies to coordinate in combating wildlife crime,” concluded Mr Pandey.

The international trade in wildlife is one of the greatest threats to wildlife conservation efforts, with criminal exploitation now pushing iconic species – such as the tiger, the snow leopard, the elephant and the rhinoceros – to the brink of extinction. INTERPOL’s Project Predator and Project Wisdom support national law enforcement efforts in addressing wildlife crime in Asia and Africa.

Project Predator focuses on Asian big cats, mainly tigers and snow leopards, and is strongly supported and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), enabling INTERPOL to facilitate and generate the creation of international notices and alerts against wildlife criminals operating in Asia.

All 190 member countries are being encouraged to prioritize international exchange and expand their use of INTERPOL’s specialized tools including its colour-coded Notices system to investigate, locate and apprehend environmental criminals.

The recognition for global action to combat the transnational criminal organizations behind environmental crime was recently highlighted with the announcement of a USD 1 million reward by the US State Department for information leading to the dismantling of the Xaysavang Network.