Following the reports that on average one endangered one-horned rhinoceros dies every eight days in Chitwan National Park, Department of National Parks and Wildlife has decided to conduct a comprehensive study on whether Nepal’s first national park is becoming densely populated with the animal.
The Himalayan Times Daily reports that 40 rhinos died in the first 11 months of the current fiscal year from mid-July to mid-June died in Chitwan National Park.
Deaths recorded in the national park account for almost 89 per cent of deaths of rhinos across the country. Nepal reported deaths of 45 rhinos across the country in the 11-month period, up 50 per cent from the whole of the last fiscal year when 30 one-horned rhinos had died leading English daily reported.
According to The Himalayan Times, around a decade ago, one of the major causes of rhino deaths was poaching. That came to an end a few years ago after authorities stepped up action against poachers. "Today, Chitwan National Park is a ‘zero poaching’ zone. Yet more and more rhinos are dying every year because of natural causes and not because of their age," writes THT citing DoWCNP Deputy Director General Ram Chandra Kandel.
“We’ll soon conduct a study on carrying capacity of Chitwan National Park to find out reasons for high number of rhino deaths,” Kandel said. The study will be carried out in partnership with IUCN Asian Rhino Specialist Group, a group of rhino experts in Asia.
There were 800 rhinos in the year 1950 during the first census. After that, the number declined rapidly due to poaching, with Nepal reporting the presence of only 100 rhinos in 1972. Nepal had 645 rhinos across the country in 2015.