Rhinos increase by 12 in India’s Kaziranga Park

A census in India’s Kaziranga National Park has counted 2,413 one-horned rhinos – up 12 from 2015, BBC News reported. Census is carried out every three years.

The Unesco World Heritage Site, in Assam state, is home to two-thirds of the world’s population of the species.

The conversation success story is a groundbreaking considering that there were only a few hundred rhinos in the 1970s. Moreso, the death of the last male northern white rhino in Kenya, a couple of days ago sent waves of shock and grief across the world as people mourned the death of the species.

However, the conservation effort has not been without controversy.

The government has in recent years given the park rangers extraordinary powers to protect the animals from harm – powers usually only given to soldiers intervening in civil unrest.

About 150 rhinos have been killed for their horns since 2006, but in 2015, park guards shot dead more people than poachers killed rhinos.

To carry out the census, authorities divided the 170-sq-mile (430-sq-km) park into 74 compartments, with 300 government and NGO officials conducting the survey.

Forty elephants and 17 sports vehicles helped them get around.

The census total given is an estimate, with authorities cautioning that the population could be bigger than that counted because some animals were concealed by tall grasses and reeds.

This vegetation is usually burnt down to encourage its regeneration but this was hampered by unseasonal rains, said reports.

It could mean the census is carried out again next year.

Since its foundation in 1905, Kaziranga has had great success in conserving and boosting animal populations.

As well as being a haven for one-horned rhinoceroses, the park was declared a tiger reserve by the Indian government and is also home to elephants, wild water buffalo and numerous bird species.

The endangered South Asian river dolphin also resides in the park rivers.

Date: 1 April 2018
https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/04/01/rhinos-increase-by-12-in-indias-kaziranga-park/