The population of one-horned rhinos has increased in Jaldapara National Park — Bengal’s largest habitat of rhinos in Alipurduar district — over the past three years, shows the preliminary report of a census carried out a few days ago.
Sources in the forest department said according to the report, 292 rhinos were found in Jaldapara, which is comparatively higher that 237, the count that was recorded in the last census that was conducted in 2019.
Among these, 101 male and 134 female rhinos have been counted, along with another 57 sub-adult rhinos whose sex could not be determined.
“We are happy that the number of rhinos has increased in Jaldapara. We would continue to work for conservation and protection of the species. Every year, we are developing new grasslands in the national park to ensure that the growing population gets adequate fodder,” said Deepak M, the divisional forest officer of Jaldapara wildlife division.
In Jaldapara, foresters had carried out the census on March 25 & 26. The entire park was divided into 55 enumeration blocks and teams were assigned to move through the area and count the rhinos through direct sighting. Along with foresters, members of different NGOs and joint forest management committees had also participated in the exercise.
In the mid-eighties, the number of rhinos had come down to 14 in Jaldapara, prompting foresters to carry out extensive conservation work and also step up the vigil to avoid poaching of the animals.
After Jaldapara, the rhino census was carried out in Gorumara National Park, which is in the neighbouring Jalpaiguri district, on Monday and Tuesday.