On April 23, 2011 the government of Nepal announced an increase in the population of greater one-horned rhinos. The National Rhino Census revealed a count of 534 rhinos in Nepal, marking an increase of 99 rhinos from the 435 recorded in 2008.
The total count of 534 includes:
- 95 new rhinos, marking a total of 503 in Chitwan National Park, the oldest protected area in Nepal
- 24 rhinos in Bardia National Park
- 7 rhinos in Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve
These numbers reflect the success of conservation efforts and are a result of improved rhino protection measures and management of habitat. The census was led by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC), and supported by WWF and the National Trust for Nature Conservation. WWF provided both technical and financial support.
Positive results, but conservation efforts must increase
The result of the rhino census is a strong signal of the government’s commitment to biodiversity conservation in Nepal, which is a result of diverse partnerships starting at the grassroots level. WWF is encouraged by the positive results, but calls for even stronger antipoaching measures and protection of habitat because poaching still remains a serious threat to rhinos due to demand for their horns.
"We must remain vigilant because the gains made since the last rhino census could easily be lost if we are complacent,” said Shubash Lohani, deputy director for WWF’s Eastern Himalayas program. “Rhinos are vulnerable to illegal wildlife trade and we must do all we can to ensure that they receive safe passage into the future.”