No recorded incidents of poaching since 2009: forest official

The rhinoceros population in the Jaldapara National Park in West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district has increased to 186 — a rise of about 25 per cent — since 2011, when census was last conducted, senior forest officials said on Wednesday.

Chief Wildlife Warden of the State S.B. Mondal told The Hindu that a census by the Forest Department over the past two months revealed that the number of rhinoceros in the national park had increased by 37.

Spread over an area of 216.5 sq km., the park is the second-largest habitat of the one-horned rhinoceros in the country after the Kaziranga National Park in Assam.

A recent census at Kaziranga also indicated a rise in the population of one-horned rhinoceros, an animal listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Mr. Mondal said the Gorumara National Park — housing 42 rhinoceroses as per the 2012 census — was another habitat of the animal in the State. “We are also expecting a rise in the population of rhinoceros at this park,” he said adding that conservation of the animal and increase in public awareness had yielded results.

There had been no recorded incidents of rhinoceros poaching in the forests of north Bengal since 2009, he noted.

While Mr. Mondal admitted that the sex ratio among rhinoceroses in the north Bengal forests was skewed — with the males numbering more — he insisted that it was no cause for concern. A dearth in female population could lead to clashes among males, which often resulted in serious injuries.