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Assam's Anti Poaching Efforts Raise Rhino Population in Kaziranga to Over 200

Kaziranga Director said that poaching of rhinos and elephants has drastically reduced following govt intervention.

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The coordinated efforts of Assam's forest, police and civil department has helped increase the population of one horned rhino in Kaziranga National Park to more than 200 in four years.

Citing the latest census conducted on 25-28 March, officials on Tuesday, 29 March, said that the population of one-horned rhinos or Indian rhinoceros in Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve had increased by 8.28 percent during this period.

As per the census, as many as 2,613 rhinos are estimated to be living in the UNESCO world heritage site against 2,413 rhinos enumerated in the previous census in 2018, said Kaziranga Director, Jatindra Sarma, reported IANS.

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Strong Anti-Poaching Activities Led to Rise in Rhino Population

Strong anti-poaching activities have led to the rise in the animal population, Sarma told The New Indian Express. Stating that the government has a zero tolerance policy against poaching, he said, the state's forest, civil administration and police department are working in tandem to end poaching.

He further said that 400 rhinos had died during this period due to poaching and natural causes. But despite that their population increased to 200 as we managed to significantly reduce poaching here, he said.

Last year, the Assam government had formed the Anti-Poaching Task Force (APTF) to curb rhino poaching in Kaziranga.

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How Enumerators Carried Out the Survey?

Speaking about the census, Sarma said that before the actual rhino census, enumerators were trained and briefed by experts on 25 March and a sample survey was conducted on 28 March.

All together 64 enumerators, 12 independent observers, and 49 media observers participated in the entire exercise, while 50 elephants were deployed to cover all 84 compartments, the Director said. Further, 252 frontline staff were directly involved in the four-day exercise.

Sarma said that the Global Positioning System devices and binoculars were provided to the enumerators for better observation, while, for the first time, drone technology was also used for sample recheck, he said.

Of the total 2,613 rhinos, 1,823 are adults (above six years), 365 are sub-adults (3 to 6 years), 279 are juveniles (one to three years) and 146 rhino calves (up to one year old). Among them 903 are females, 750 are males. The team was not able to ascertain the gender of 273 rhinos during the census.

Two other rhino habitats in Assam have also reportedly witnessed a increase in the animal's population.

According to wildlife officials, the Orang National Park, on the northern bank of the Brahmaputra, recorded an increase of 24 rhinos over the figure of 101 in 2018, while the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary recorded five more rhinos than in 2018. Of the 107 rhinos counted in the sanctuary, 50 were females, 30 males, and 27 were calves, reported IANS.

(With inputs from IANS, The New Indian Express)

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