Rhinos in Nepal boosted by world-wide support

A focused effort by many groups helps the greater one-horned rhinoceros.

After three rigorous weeks of conducting the National Rhino Census in Nepal, new data on the population of greater one-horned rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) was formally released on April 25, 2011. According to the census, there are 534 rhinos in Nepal, marking an increase of 99 rhinos from the 435 recorded in the last census in 2008; 503 were recorded in Chitwan National Park (an increase of 95 from 2008 data), 24 in Bardia National Park (an increase of 2 from 2008 data) and 7 in Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve (an increase of 2 from 2008 data). These numbers reflect the success of conservation efforts for this species and are a result of improved rhino protection measures and management of habitat.

Two rhinoceros in Chitwan National Park. Image Credit: Meg and Rahul

The rhino counting was conducted simultaneously in Chitwan National Park, Bardia National Park and Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve of Nepal’s Terai Arc Landscape, and was a combined effort of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation of the Government of Nepal, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Nepal and the National Trust for Nature Conservation. WWF provided technical as well as financial support for the National Rhino Census.

Krishna Prasad Acharya, Director General of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, said:

This is a fine example of working together where all conservation partners and local communities are contributing to the conservation efforts of the Government of Nepal. Support received from WWF Nepal is appreciable and we are hopeful that this support will continue in the coming years with more vigor.

Anil Manandhar, Country Representative of WWF Nepal, added:

The positive result of the national rhino census 2011 is an indication of the successful conservation efforts of the Government of Nepal in partnership with conservation partners…Even though the current census shows the rise in rhino number, we cannot be complacent, and therefore continuous effort from all sectors is essential to protect endangered species like rhino and their habitat.

Image Credit: Krish Dulal

Dr. Ghana S Gurung, Conservation Program Director, WWF Nepal, acknowledged support from WWF in other countries — the US, UK, Finland, Netherlands, WW International — and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Trust for Nature Conservation, local communities, and those in the private sector. He now looks toward building a thriving rhino population in the Terai Arc Landscape.

Summary: Support from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and other groups has resulted in an increase in number of the greater one-horned rhinoceros in Nepal. The census was released on April 25, 2011 and reflects surveys of Chitwan National Park, Bardia National Park, and Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve.

Via EurekAlert

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