KATHMANDU, March 22: Rhino census has begun from the Pratappur of Parsa National Park in the southern belt of Nepal.
Minister for Forests and Environment Prem Bahadur Ale on Monday inaugurated the campaign by blowing a whistle. The census is being carried out under the leadership of the Department of the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation.
The Chitwan National Park and the Parsa National Park have been designated as a single block for the counting, where the counting began on Monday. Further counting in Bardiya National Park will be carried out March 30 onwards while rhinos in Shuklaphanta National Park will be counted from April 19. Final report will be unveiled before the mid-April.
National Planning Commission member Krishna Prasad Oli, Forest Ministry's secretary Dr Bishwanath Oli, director general of Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, Deepak Kharal, managing director of Department of Forests, Man Bahadur Khadka and chiefs from different donor agencies among others were also present during the launch of the ceremony.
According to CNP chief conservation officer Ananath Baral, 200 people have been mobilised to conduct the counting. There are 40 main enumerators and 20 alternative enumerators for the campaign. Prior to this, the human force assigned for the counting were given orientation on March 19 and 20 in Sauraha.
According to National Trust for Nature Conservation, Sauraha chief Dr Baburam Lamichhane, it will take around 30 days to complete the rhino counting in two national parks.
The latest 2015 rhino census puts the total number of rhinos at 654, including 605 in Chitwan, 29 in Bardiya, eight in Shuklaphanta and three in Parsa.