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Assam sees rise in rhino population, now over 2,500

The Indian Express
Guwahati
10 Apr 2012

Poachers may have been on the prowl and killing a number of rhinos, especially at Kaziranga National Park in Upper Assam. However, the population of the one-horned rhinoceros has shot up in the state very encouragingly, with the just-concluded census putting it at 2,505, over 300 more than what it was three years ago.

In Kaziranga, which has the highest concentration of the one-horned rhinoceros, the figure has gone up from 2,048 in 2009 to 2,290 now, despite the death of roughly 120 rhinos between 2009 and 2011.

The highest number of 14 rhinos were killed by poachers in Kaziranga National Park during 2009 while 2010 was the worst year in the park as far as natural deaths were concerned - 68 rhinos had died.

Officials, while describing the increase in number of rhinos as a positive development, said going by the trend, the target of having 3,000 rhinos in the country by 2020 under the Indian Rhino Vision would be achieved much ahead of schedule.

The rhino census, completed on Sunday, also registered 100 rhinos in Orang National Park and 93 in Pobitora wildlife sanctuary, besides 22 that have been translocated to Manas National Park over the past four years. In 2009, Orang had only 64 rhinos while the figure was 81 in Pobitora.