Latest census shows rhino population at 752 in Nepal

Conservationists are excited by the news that the number of one-horned rhinoceros, the wild animal that was on the verge of extinction, in Nepal has increased to 752 as per the recent census.

The number is 107 more than the total population six years back.

Most of the rhino population was found at Chitwan National Park. According to the latest census, 694 rhinos were found in Chitwan National Park and surrounding forests.

Similarly, there are 38 rhinos in Bardiya, 17 in Shuklaphanta and three in Parsa.

As per 2015 census, there were 605 rhinos in Chitwan, 29 in Bardiya, eight in Shuklaphanta and three in Parsa.

The result of census, which had started on March 22, was announced at the Sauraha office of the National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC) on Saturday with Forest Secretary Vishwanath Oli as chief guest.

Chitwan locals are happy but also worried at the same time that the rise in the number of rhinos would increase incidents of human-wildlife conflict, causing havoc in the surrounding human settlements.

“We feel sad when we hear about death of rhinos but this calculation showed that the situation is not worrisome. This makes us locals happy. But now it is important to pay attention to secure the rhinos’ habitat,” said Basu Dhungana, a conservationist.

Speaking on the occasion, Haribhadra Acharya, ecologist of the Department of National Parks, said that only preliminary result is made public for now and the department would bring conservation programs based on these results.

Chief Conservation Officer of Chitwan National Park, Annath Baral, said that the number of rhinos had increased as a result of improvement in their habitat and control of poaching in recent years.

Since the 2015 census, 161 rhinos have died in Chitwan National Park and surrounding forest areas.

The census was conducted from Dalla Bulk in the intermediate zone of Bardiya National Park to Babai Valley. The number of rhinos in Bardiya National Park has increased as wildlife poaching was curbed.

Of the 83 rhinos transferred from Chitwan to Bardiya National Park, 36 were killed by poachers and 24 died due to natural causes.

Rhino poaching is comparatively under control of late after the Nepal Army set up posts in 31 places.