In a fantastic boost to conservation efforts, the population of one-horned rhinos in Nepal has increased by over one hundred in the last six years.
The Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation confirmed that the numbers of these endangered rhinos had increased from 645 in 2015 to an impressive 752 across four national parks in the southern plains this year.
The census of these rhinos has been conducted once in half a decade since 1994. However, it was delayed by an year due to the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing conditions.
This year, the census was carried out by the authorities by means of sophisticated techniques and equipment such as GPS equipment, binoculars, and cameras.
“Rhinos were counted through a direct observation method, where the counting team reached as close as 100 metres (330 feet) from the wild animal,” the department’s information officer, Haribhadra Acharya said.
Though once abundant, the number of one-horned rhinos has drastically reduced in the recent past due to illegal hunting and loss of habitat. However, the government and authorities of Nepal had conducted several conservation, anti-poaching, and habitat restoration efforts to increase their numbers.
“The increase of rhinos is exciting news for us,” Acharya, added.
“But we have challenges ahead to expand the habitat areas of this animal to maintain the growth.”
Global conservation organization, the World Wildlife Fund, which also provides financial and technical assistance for conducting the census, called the population increase 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,” the WWF’s Nepal representative, Ghana Gurung, said in a statement.
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