The greater one-horned rhino not only has the best of all scientific animal names (Rhinoceros unicornis) it is also the largest of the rhino species. Once widespread across a number of countries in the northern Indian sub-continent, populations have plummeted as they were hunted for sport or killed as agricultural pests, bringing the animal close to extinction.
But according to results of the latest census, Nepal’s rhino population has risen by more than 100 to 752 from 645 in 2015, marking a positive milestone in conservation efforts.
“We are very excited by the rhino survey’s findings. After the tigers, now the rhino population has also gone up,” Haribhadra Acharya, a senior official at the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, told the BBC.
Nepal is among only a few countries where greater one-horned rhinos are now found. Officials in Nepal have said that while the lack of tourists due to the coronavirus pandemic helped the animals, as it gave them a chance to roam freely without tourists following them, it also gave poachers an opportunity to exploit the situation, killing four rhinos in the last year.
To gather the data for the census, about 350 experts and forest department officials travelled deep into the forest for three weeks to tally the rhinos based on a visual headcount.
Thanks to the rise in numbers in recent decades, the rhino’s status has improved from endangered to vulnerable.
Read more at the BBC.