Nepal’s endangered rhino population rebounding

March 24th, 2008 - 2:18 pm ICT by admin  

DPA
Kathmandu, March 24 (DPA) Nepal’s endangered one-horned rhinoceros population is increasing in protected national parks, officials involved in a recent census of the animal population said Monday. The census was carried out recently in Chitwan National Park, about 250 km southwest of the Nepalese capital Kathmandu.

The park is well known for its conservation efforts in protecting endangered species including greater one-horned Asian rhinoceros and Royal Bengal tigers.

“A total of 408 rhinos were spotted in the national park during a recent census,” Director General of Wildlife Conservation Department Shyam Bajimiya said. “The number is 36 more than the last census in 2005.”

The team said it had identified many female rhinos were in their prime which meant the future looked promising for the species.

“The teams were able to identify 100 animals as males and 130 as females but the sex of the remaining rhinos could not be established,” Bajimiya said. “The team came across a considerable number of young rhinos during the census.”

During the last survey in 2005, the teams were only able to find 372 rhinos and feared for the future of the animals in Nepal’s protected areas.

The new finding has generated a wave of optimism among the wildlife officials after years of a rapidly declining population of the animal.

Rhinos are also found in Bardiya National Park in western Nepal since they were translocated there from Chitwan National Park in the 1980s and 1990s to create a viable alternative population.

However, reports last year said many of the rhinos relocated to Bardiya National Parks had either been killed by poachers or were missing.

Nepal listed one-horned Rhinos as an endangered species in the 1960s after the number of animals hit an all-time low of just over 60.

Conservation efforts saw the population rebound to more than 600 in Chitwan National Park in the early 1990s.

The population again declined during Nepal’s decade-long insurgency when army check posts were removed from the wildlife reserve out of fear of Maoist attacks.
DPA

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