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Population of one-horned rhinos in Jaldapara & Gorumara goes up

Population of one-horned rhinos in Jaldapara & Gorumara goes up
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Kolkata: The population of one-horned rhinoceros in Jaldapara and Gorumara in North Bengal has gone up.

The latest census report of the rhinos was released by state Forest minister Bratya Basu in presence of senior officials of his department on Monday at Sukna in Siliguri. The total count of the animals stands at 291.

According to the report, the count has gone up in both the forests in North Bengal in comparison to the last census, the report of which was released in the year 2015. The rhino population in Gorumara has increased from 49 to 52 while that in Jaldapara has risen from 204 to 239 .

The findings have come from a recent survey carried out by the department in the two national parks in the state in February .

" This is for the first time when apart from direct sighting we have collected the dung of the animal to estimate the population. Both the reports have been tallied and the census report was released accordingly," said a senior official of state Forest department.

Samples have also been sent for DNA analysis in Hyderabad for ascertaining the correct figure of the male and female rhinos in the two national parks.

"Apart from our officials, adequate number of forest guards, 18 pet elephants were involved in the count. There were some NGOs too as observers during the census process," the official added.

The increase in population is a clear indication that steps like improvement in habitat and prevention of poaching has augured well. However there are still some sporadic incidents of poaching. "Three such incidents of rhino poaching were reported last year. We are taking stromn measures to prevent such incident," said Ravi Kant Sinha, state Chief Wildlife Warden.

It may be mentioned that the state Forest department has already started work for developing the third habitat for rhinoceros at Patlakhawa in North Bengal. The third home for the one horned rhino is being developed for balancing the rhino population that have increased by both at Jaldapara and Gorumara National Park in North Bengal. The Patlakhawa forest has a large wetland and was once a game reserve of the Koch dynasty that had ruled Cooch Behar. The department is presently developing the infrastructure of Patlakhaw that includes boundary of the habitat, grassland improvement watch towers, deployment of security staff, construction of staff quarters and training of staff.

Bengal has the second highest population of rhinoceros after Assam.

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