Rhino census to be conducted in four national parks

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Rhino census to be conducted

The national rhino census, which has not been done for the last two years, will be conducted this winter in four National parks.

Rhinos are being counted in four national parks in Nepal. According to ecologist Haribhadra Acharya, information officer of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, a budget of Rs 8 million has been allocated for the census.

The government is set to conduct the long-awaited rhino census in Chitwan, Parsa, Bardiya and Shuklaphanta national parks.

It had been planned to conduct a rhino census in 2018 after a large number of rhinos were swept away by the flood and many others died in natural disasters in 2017. However, the census was halted as the government did not allocate budget for the program in 2018.

Last year, preparation was done for the census but the census was delayed due to prolonged rains so that grass didn’t dry soon. At the same time, the census was postponed due to lockdown due to Kovid-19.

Although the preparations concluded last year, training will have to be provided again for staff involved in the program, Acharya said. The best time for the census is when grasses and foliage fall after winter and a new season begins, he informed.

Rhino census was conducted in the years 1994, 2000, 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2015 in the country. The last census carried out in 2015 showed the population of rare endangered one-horned rhino to be 605 in Chitwan while three other parks noted 40 rhinos.

Officer Acharya expressed his view that developing a strategy for the conservation of rhinos becomes easier after conducting a census.

Chief Conservation Officer of the park, Annath Baral, said that it would take a month to count the rhinos in Chitwan. In other parks, it will take from one week to 10 days.

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