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| Last Updated:23/01/2020

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Kaziranga rhino count increases

                                                                                                                    The Indian Express, New Delhi, 27th March, 2015

Invrease in the incidents of poaching may have been a continuing bad news from Kaziranga. But there is some good news too, with the just-concluded census putting the number of one-horned rhinos in the national park at 2,329, which is a net increase of 39 over the figure arrived at in a similar census exercise conducted exactly one year ago.

"Yes, poaching has been taking place despite our best efforts. But what is most encouraging is that the number of rhinos in Kaziranga is increasing," said Suresh Chand, Assam Principal Chief Conservator of Forests. He said while Kaziranga counted 2,290 rhinos in the 2012 census, the recent census showed 2,329. The rhino census was conducted for three days since Saturday, with poachers killing one rhino on the first day itself.

Interestingly, the increase of 39 has happened despite the death of as many as 35 rhinos at the hands of poachers since January 2012 till last week. Moreover, at least 50 rhinos died during three successive waves of floods that had hit the 890-sq km national park last year, in addition to 50-odd more due to "natural" reasons like old-age and infighting. A number of rhino calves were also killed by 100-plus tigers that Kaziranga is home to.

"This should dispel the apprehension in the minds of the people that no rhinos will be left in Kaziranga. We have of course gone all out to tackle poaching, and it was only last evening that four poachers were arrested in the vicinity of the park," the PCCF said. Forest guards had also gunned down two poachers inside Kaziranga three weeks ago.

Kaziranga has been constantly in the news for rhino poaching in the past one year and more, with the Congress-led government coming under fire from the opposition, environment NGOs and the people for its failure to protect the endangered animal.