One-horned rhinos dying natural deaths

Chitwan, December 30

The recent increase in the number of one-horned rhinos dying of natural causes in Chitwan National Park has worried conservationists.

Poaching has been consistently zero in the past few years according to the data provided by reports. However, the death of rhinos due to natural causes has spiked in recent years. Protecting rhinos from death due to natural causes has posed the biggest challenge to conservationists.

According to data, 21 rhinos have died due to natural causes in Chitwan National Park and District Forest Office areas this fiscal.

Assistant Conservation Officer and Information officer at the park, Gopal Ghimire, said 20 rhinos died in the park while one died in the district forest due to natural causes. He said 11 rhinos died due to old age, five died in fighting, two sank into the quicksand, one was buried in a soil mound and one died after it could not give birth to a calf.  Similarly, one rhino died in fighting in Panchakanya Community Forest.

Chief conservationist of the park Bed Kumar Dhakal said the number of rhinos had increased in the park while the number of deaths due to natural causes had also increased at the same time.  The park has formed a task force to probe the death of rhinos due to natural causes. The task force reached grazing land, visited water resources and quicksand areas, among other places, while conducting a study on December 17. Dhakal said the task force would submit its report by March.

According to the census report of 2015, there were 605 rhinos in the park. The statistics of the park shows that as many as eight rhinos had died due to natural causes in 2014, 15 in 2015, 14 in 2016, and 24 in 2017.