Nepal 'jails' blind rhino for manslaughter

Last Updated: Fri, Jan 28, 2011 06:40 hrs

Kathmandu, Jan 28 (IANS) Authorities in western Nepal have slapped a one-year 'jail term' on a blind rhinoceros who killed a man last year.

In remote Bardiya district in the farwest, where nearly two dozen rhinos live in the Bardiya National Park, park officials have slapped the 'jail term' on the recalcitrant male.

Named Bikram by park officials, the rhino used to be a hot favourite with visiting tourists till last year, when it inexplicably attacked the priest of a local temple and the mauled victim succumbed to his injuries.

Nine years ago, Bikram had been transported to Bardiya from Chitwan in southern Nepal that has over 400 rhinos - the largest after India's Kaziranga wildlife park.

He had been attacked by the villagers in Chitwan and was found with injuries, the Nagarik daily reported Thursday. Later, he was also found to have lost his eyesight.

The sightless Bikram held no fears for tourists visiting the park, who would pose close to him for photographs, the daily said.

But after the priest's death, the park authorities decided to keep him in confinement and under observation to prevent further mishaps.

However, the good news is that Bikram is nearing the end of his sentence.

Three more posts are being built in a different area and within the next five months, the convict, who has given no further trouble, will be transported there and let out.

Along with Mt Everest, the highest peak in the world, 'Living Goddess' Kumari and the crocodiles of the southern plains, the one-horned rhinoceros is regarded as one of the icons of Nepal and a major tourist attraction.

Souvenir shops sell t-shirts embroidered with the image of the tank-like beast second-largest in bulk only to the elephant, while no travel destination poster is complete without its photos or sketches.