New rhino census in Nepal to be conducted from mid-March

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KATHMANDU, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- Five years after the previous census, Nepal is all set to conduct a new rhino census in its national parks across the country from mid-March, according to the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation.

The census will come up with the Himalayan nation's total population of greater one-horned rhinos, which are listed as the protected animal by National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 1973.

"We are making necessary preparations for the rhino census, which will tentatively begin from March 14, and will last for at least three weeks," Bishnu Prasad Shrestha, spokesperson at the department, told Xinhua on Wednesday.

The official said they are planning to start the counting from Chitwan and Parsa national parks, formed as a single block, while the second phase might cover the block of Bardia and Shuklaphanta national parks.

"We are mapping right now and trying to finalize the blocks as per the distribution of rhinos in the national parks. It will be finalized within couple of days," Shrestha said.

The department is organizing a special training program for a technical team of over 50 participants in the first week of March, he said, adding that besides the technical manpower, around 30 to 35 elephants will be used for the counting purpose.

According to the last rhino census of 2015, there are 645 rhinoceros in Nepal in three small sub-populations with average annual growth rate of 5 percent. Enditem

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