125 of the pachyderms died due to poaching, flood and natural factors since January 2012
The Kaziranga National Park has recorded a net increase of 39 rhinos even after losing about 125 rhinos due to poaching, high flood and natural death since January 2012.
A census revealed that the total rhino count of the park — famous for one-horned rhinoceros — is 2,329. The census was carried out on March 24 and 25. The 2012 census had put the count at 2,290. The park has the world’s largest population of Indian one-horned rhinoceros.
In 2012, the park lost about 125 rhinos, including 18 killed and dehorned by poachers and over 100 that died due to high floods. In 2013, poachers have so far killed 13 rhinos in Assam, including 10 rhinos of the Kaziranga park. In 2012, the poachers killed 22 rhinos in the State.
“The net increase of 39 rhinos over last year’s census figures should dispel the apprehension in the minds of the people that no rhinos will be left in the Kaziranga National Park,” Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) Suresh Chand told The Hindu .
Park Director N.K. Vasu, however, said that on an average Kaziranga registered an annual increase of 50 to 70 rhinos.
“However, due to poaching and casualty due to high flood situation in 2012, the increase this time was little less than this average growth,” he added.
The Assam government has ordered a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the spurt in cases of rhino poaching in the Kaziranga park after the All Assam Students’ Union and various NGOs raised the demand for a probe by the apex investigating agency into such unabated incidents.