One-horned rhino population crosses 4,000-mark

Determined anti-poaching measures combined with habitat creation have helped increase the population of the great unicorn rhino – found only in India, Nepal and Bhutan – to 4,014, although the future of other rhino species in Africa and Indonesia was of concern, revealed an international report on Wednesday.

The number of unicorn rhinos was 426 more than the number reported in 2018, according to the State of Rhino Report 2022, released by the International Rhino Foundation on the eve of International Rhino Day.

“The population is increasing largely because the governments of India and Nepal are creating habitat for rhinos while preventing poaching,” the report said.

Greater unicorn rhino populations increased at a time when rhino populations in Africa and Indonesia were either declining or only slightly increasing. A decade ago, the population of the one-horned rhino was 2,454.


Of the 2,613 unicorn rhinos recorded in India, Kaziranga National Park in Assam is the largest habitat for the species (2,613), followed by Jaldapara National Park in Bengal (287), Orang National Park in Assam (125), Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary ( 107), Gorumara National Park in Bengal (52), Manas National Park in Assam (40) and Dudhwa National Park in Uttar Pradesh (38). Kaziranga alone reported 200 more rhinos than in 2018.

The report also spoke of the government’s move to expand the area of ​​Orang National Park by about 200 square kilometers and connect it to Laokhowa and Burasapori Wildlife Sanctuaries to create a larger scenic corridor for the rhino and other threatened species.

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“This increase follows several expansions to Kaziranga National Park in recent years which have added 919.48 square kilometers to the park. With NGO partners, including the IRF, the Assam government initiated translocations of rhinos within protected areas of Assam to give rhinos more breeding space,” the report said. “The state government is also closing all rhino-carrying sanctuaries in Assam to visitors during the breeding season,” it said.

The 2020 India Rhino Vision, which saw rhinos relocated from Kaziranga to Manas National Park, also came closer to its goal of 3,000 rhinos.

Manas National Park lies on the border between India and the Kingdom of Bhutan. Rhinos are known to move between countries and are included in the population figures for India.

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“Poaching remains a threat, but authorities in India have significantly reduced poaching through intensive security measures and strict enforcement of wildlife crime laws. In 2021 there was only one documented poaching incident. Also in the first half of 2022 there was only one registered incident,” says the State of Rhino Report 2022.

The rhino population in Nepal has also increased to 752, which is 107 more than in 2015. The number of rhinos is growing by three percent annually. Nepal has seen 37 rhino deaths in 2021, but only one has been classified as poaching, the report said.

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