The one-horned rhinoceros population in Nepal has seen an increase of more than one hundred over the course of the past six years, according to a recent census.
A total of 752 rhinoceroses were found across four national parks in the southern plains, as announced by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation on April 10, showing a significant rise from the 645 recorded back in 2015.
The census, delayed by one year on account of the coronavirus pandemic, was reportedly conducted using GPS equipment, binoculars and cameras during the months of March and April.
An approximate 250 personnel, which included enumerators, soldiers and veterinarians, reportedly rode on 57 elephants to count the animals for a period of almost three weeks from late March onwards.
Speaking with AFP on Sunday, April 11, the department’s information officer, Haribhadra Acharya, said:
The increase of rhinos is exciting news for us. But we have challenges ahead to expand the habitat areas of this animal to maintain the growth.
In a statement, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) representative Ghana Gurung described the population boom as being a ‘milestone’ for Nepal:
The overall growth in population size is indicative of ongoing protection and habitat management efforts by protected area authorities despite challenging contexts these past years.
Poaching and human intrusion on their natural habitat has caused the rhino population in Nepal to fall to around 100 in Nepal. As part of an ongoing drive to boost numbers, a rhino census has been carried out every five years since 1994. A total of 466 rhinos were counted in the first census.
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Topics: Animals, conservation, Nepal