Amidst poaching comes a piece of feel-good news from the 860 sq km Kaziranga National Park — the rhino count has gone up by 39 to 2,329.
This ‘conservation success story’ follows another in western Assam’s Manas National Park. Two rhinos translocated there from other reserves gave birth earlier this month.
“The two-day rhino census from March 24 revealed that the animal’s population has gone up from 2,290 last year to 2,329. This should dispel the apprehension in the minds of the people that no rhinos will be left in Kaziranga,” principal chief conservator of forest (wildlife) Suresh Chand said on Tuesday.
Wildlife officials and conservationists were also enthusiastic about two translocated rhinos giving birth in Manas. Tribal militants had wiped out the rhino population in Manas in the 1990s, forcing Unesco to downgrade the park to World Heritage Site in Danger.
The ‘danger’ tag was removed in June 2011 after a Unesco team found Manas to have recovered substantially. The translocation programme under Indian Rhino Vision 2020 had begun in 2008.
Eighteen rhinos have so far been shifted to Manas. Eight of these are from Kaziranga.