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Counting Rhinos - Himalayan Footsteps

The Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation in Nepal is about to conduct a rhino census. Every two to three years the population of endangered one-horned rhinos is counted. In 2008 there were 408 rhinos in Chitwan National Park, 22 in Bardia National Park and 5 in Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve, which showed that the number of rhinos is on the rise compared to the previous census.

The species are still under constant threat due to poaching, but conservation efforts have been intensified during the last years, so it is hoped the numbers will further rise.

To count the rhinos transects will be drawn on a map and elephants lined up parallel along those. The distance between the elephants will be about 50 metres in dense forests and 100-200 metres in open grassland, radio communications will be used to coordinate movement.

According to studies there were around 1,000 rhinos in Chitwan valley only until 1950 before the population rapidly declined in the 1960s. Poaching and habitat destruction are posing the main threats to the species’ existence. The one-horned rhino is endemic to Nepal and India and their estimated total number is around 2,000 in the wild and around 135 in captivity around the world. The data collected from counting the population this spring will help to formulate a new action plan for their conservation.

If you would like to go on an adventure safari to Nepal to see some of the last rhinos contact us!