Govt planning to conduct self-funded Rhino census in March next year


KATHMANDU, March 12: The government of Nepal is planning to conduct a census of one-horned rhinos in its own fund in March next year.

After the census- which chiefly relied on donors for fund – was called off citing lack of fund last year, the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation had asked the government to allocate money for conducting the census.

The wildlife department was able to raise only 10 percent of the Rs 10 million required for conducting the census. Although the park generated Rs 290 million in revenue last fiscal year, half of it was allocated for local communities while the rest went to the central government’s budget.

The government has allocated Rs 11 million for the count and has requested the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to contribute Rs 5 million for the rhino census next year, according to department assistant director Ram Chanda Kandel.

The census is being conducted in the wake of the increasing number of deaths of rhinos in the Chitwan National Park. According to park officials, as many as 45 rhinos have been found dead in the park since 2018 mid-July.

The census will help provide a clear picture of whether the country’s main rhino sanctuary is hosting more rhinos than its capacity, according to officials.

The rhino census is conducted every 5 years in Nepal. The last count was done between April 11 and May 2, 2015–which had counted 605 rhinos in Chitwan National Park, 29 in Bardia National Park, eight in Suklaphanta National Park and three in Parsa National Park. (SOURCE: MONGABAY )