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Over 1,000 rhinos spotted on Day one of census

Written by: Staff
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Kaziranga, Mar 25 (UNI) The much awaited Rhino census in Kaziranga National Park (KNP) started today.

On the first day of the two-day census, more than 1,000 rhinos were spotted, informed Chief Conservator of Forest Mohan Malakar.

He said, ''In the last census in 1999, 1,552 Rhinos were spotted.

This time, we expect the figure to be over 1,800.'' Mr Malakar informed, the KNP had been divided into 29 compartments and 73 sub-compartments for the census and 38 elephants were being used for the job.

The census started at the crack of dawn and the survey continued till after 1300 hours.

Physical sighting methode was being employed in the census for the scientific belief that Rhinos do not cover much area during 24 hours. Hence, the exact number of animals can be arrived at by combing the KNP in two consecutive days, he explained.

The compilation of figures would take place on Monday and the final list would be out in next two days, Mr Malakar added.

The census team included one officer, mahout, fandi and a local guard. Members of NGOs and retired government officers were also part of the team to maintain transparency in the proceedings.

The southern bank of Difaloo river was covered today, the northern bank would be covered tomorrow.

Difaloo river runs parallel to the Brahmaputra river and National Highway and divides the National park into two parts.

The southern part of the KNP houses more Rhinos it is a grassland while the northern part is mostly woodland.

Mr Malakar said the census was slated for last year but it could not be conducted due to heavy rains. The Rhino census takes place every six years.

He said the burning of grasslands is necessary for the census, but it could not be done last year due to rains. Burning of grasslands not only increases visibility but is a scientific method for growth of new grasses, he added.

UNI MT-SG JYN TJP OM BS1855

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