A rhino seen at Chitwan National Park. (File Photo/Khabarhub)
CHITWAN: The likelihood of conducting rhino census looks but unfeasible due to the lockdown in the face of COVID-19 pandemic and the adverse weather on top of it.
However, the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC) has completed all preparations for the census.
The rhino census was slated to be held from March 23 but was suspended as the country went into lockdown. Although it was said to be started from March 14, it was deferred to March 23 citing unfavorable weather.
DNPWC deputy director-general Ram Chandra Kandel said the month of Chait (mid-March to mid-April) is the right time for counting rhinos.
According to him, the month before this is not considered suitable because of cold, muddy terrain and thick bushes in the rhino habitat. Similarly, the time is not suitable in May as well due to hot weather and the risk of bush fire.
He said the situation is such that they would not be in a position to conduct the rhino census this year. The rhino census was to be conducted in the Chitwan National Park and the national park in Parsa, Bardiya, and Shuklaphanta.
The Department had earmarked Rs 11 million 35 thousand for this purpose.
Rhino census was done in Nepal in 1994, 2000, 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2015 before this. The latest census had counted 645 rhinos in the country, including 605 in Chitwan National Park alone.