The Congress is held every three years, this year being the first time it has been organised in Asia at a moment when wildlife is under increasing threat in national parks around the world, putting rangers at increasing risk. More than 1,000 rangers have been killed in the line of duty in the past 10 years, with 149 killed by poachers in the past year alone — mostly in Africa. A survey in 2016 showed that nearly three-fourths of rangers had faced life-threatening situations on patrols.
“This time it was Asia’s turn to host the Congress, and Nepal was the most serious proposal received,” said Sean Wilmore, President of the International Ranger Federation. “Nepal has proven itself as an example to follow having achieved Zero Poaching of rhinos.”
Africa is losing more than three rhinos a day to poachers. Botswana’s population of 160,000 wild elephants were till recently regarded as safe from ivory smugglers, but there has been a 10-fold increase in poaching in the past five years.