Kaziranga rhino population increases by 200

Last census conducted in 2018 put number of one–horned herbivore at 2,413

March 29, 2022 04:11 pm | Updated 04:11 pm IST - GUWAHATI

A view of a rhino in Kaziranga. File

A view of a rhino in Kaziranga. File | Photo Credit: AFP

The population of the greater one–horned or Indian rhinoceros in the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve has increased by 200 in four years, the latest census of the World Heritage Site’s flagship animal has revealed.

The last rhino census conducted in 2018 had put the number at 2,413.

Though the tiger reserve measures 1,355 sq. km, the census was confined to a rhino–bearing area of 864 sq. km. It was conducted from March 25 to 28 but the counting was done on the two days in between.

Fifty elephants were deployed to cover all the 84 compartments of the park, its addition areas and civil areas. Apart from 125 enumerators and independent observers, 252 frontline staff were involved in the exercise.

“We estimated 2,613 rhinos, which indicates an annual increase of 50 rhinos since 2018. During this period, Kaziranga lost 400 rhinos due to natural causes while poachers killed three,” Jatindra Sarma, Kaziranga’s director, told The Hindu.

This year’s census had a first — the use of drones for the recheck of 26 park compartments where the sample survey was conducted.

Of the rhinos estimated, 1,823 were adults, 365 were subadults, 279 juveniles and 146 calves. The females — both adults and subadults — outnumbered the males by 183. The gender of 273 adults and subadults could not be specified during the census.

A similar census was conducted in two more of Assam’s rhino habitats earlier in March.

The Orang National Park recorded an increase of 24 rhinos over the figure of 101 in 2018. There was no incident of poaching in the 78.81 sq. km park on the northern bank of the Brahmaputra river during this period.

The 38.80–sq. km Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary recorded five more rhinos than in 2018. Of the 107 rhinos counted, 50 were females, 30 males and 27 calves.

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