22 rhinos dead in nine months; census in the offing on domestic resources
The incidents of natural death of rhino have gone up at Chitwan National Park over the time. As many as 22 rhinos died due to natural reasons from mid-July 2019 to this date. According to Assistant Conservation Officer of the National Park Prakash Uprety, carcasses of a rhino were found at Temple Tiger zone in western belt on last Tuesday lately.
Earlier, two rhinos were found dead at national forest and national park areas. Main reasons behind the rhino deaths in the national park are food poisoning, ageing, in-fighting, stuck in water pits and gorge and husbandry. With the rise in the trend of rhino deaths, the national park had formed a committee to study on the decline of the one-horned last year. The committee is working to that end. However, rhinos have not been killed for smuggling purpose for the past few years.
The increase in the rhino deaths due to natural reasons has been a matter of wider concern in the conservation field. In the last fiscal year alone, 43 rhinos died due to natural reasons. Likewise, 26 rhinos were dead in the fiscal 2074/75 and 25 in the fiscal 2073/74. Normally the death of five percent rhinos is taken to be normal. He informed that there are 605 rhinos at Chitwan National Park as per the latest count. Preparation for rhino count in final preparation According to national park sources, preparation for the count of rare one-horned rhino has come to a final stage. The rhino census is taking place from Chitwan national park on 23 March. The first phase of census will take place in Chitwan and Parsa national parks and second phase will be carried out in Bardiya and Shuklapahnta national parks. Rhino is available in four national parks of Nepal.
Thirty-five elephants and 60 technical human resources will be mobilized for rhino count at Chitwan National Park. There is a plan to complete the census in 20 days. The census is to begin from Chitwan. According to Assistant Conservation Officer Uprety, the counting will start from eastern area of the national park. This time the government itself is spending costs required for carrying out census.
The Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation has allocated around Rs 11 million for rhino count. Though preparation was made to find out existing number of rhinos last year after flood devastation, it did not take place due to budget crunch. Rhino census is being held in every five years. Previous census was held in 2015. It was revealed that there were 645 rhinos in the country. Among them, 605 were counted in Chitwan national park. -Narayan Adhikari