In positive news, Nepal’s endangered one-horned rhino population has shown a promising 16% increase over the past six years.
According to the 2021 National Rhino Count, the current population of the species is 752 individuals compared to the 2015 estimate of 645. The 2021 National Rhino Count was conducted from March 22 to April 10 and covered areas of rhinoceros distribution within the country, including four national parks such as Chitwan.
The count was led by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, which mobilized more than 57 elephants and 350 technicians and trained personnel who conducted sweeps in the rainforest areas to document numbers based on a count.
Population estimates are based on information collected from each rhino, categorized based on statistics such as sex, age group, and unique identifying characteristics. During the process, data is also collected on habitat conditions, invasive species in the area, and human activities in the region.
“The overall growth in population size is indicative of continued habitat protection and management efforts by protected area authorities despite the challenging contexts of recent years,” said Ghana Gurung, country representative from WWF Nepal in a statement from the NGO.
“This achievement is another milestone in Nepal’s conservation journey that shows the impact of the concerted efforts of all stakeholders and provides the much-needed boost to the global conservation fraternity.”
Thousands of one-horned rhinos were once seen in the southern plains of Nepal, but poaching and the reduction of available habitat affected their numbers, leaving only about 100 left in the country in the 1960s.
Every half decade, Nepal takes on the immense task of counting its rhinos to monitor their status in the wild. Rhino counting supports the assessment of management effectiveness in these regions and guides the nation’s rhino conservation strategy.
Featured Image: WWF-Nepal, Pramod Neupane /Instagram
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