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Nepal’s Rhino Population Grows, Likely Boosted by Covid-19 Closures

With the country’s nature reserves shut for most of last year, the endangered animals had more freedom to roam, congregate and mate.

4/12/2021 6:15:00 PM

Nepal’s rhino population grows, likely with a boost from Covid-19 restrictions that gave the endangered animals a break from tourists

With the country’s nature reserves shut for most of last year, the endangered animals had more freedom to roam, congregate and mate.

Updated April 12, 2021 5:27 am ETKATHMANDU, Nepal—The herd of rare rhinoceroses that calls Nepal home has expanded, likely with a little help from the country’s Covid-19 lockdowns.The endangered, one-horned rhinos got a long holiday from camera-toting tourists as the country’s nature reserves were shut for most of last year. That gave them more freedom to roam, congregate and mate, conservation officials said.

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A census showed that the country’s herd of rhinos—also called a crash—increased about 17%, to 752, from the previous survey six years earlier, Nepal’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation said Saturday.“It’s great news for all of us who care for conservation of rhinos,” said Deepak Kumar Kharal, the department’s director general. “Covid-19 had a small but an important role helping the growth in our rhinos’ population.”

The population of greater one-horned rhinos has been growing since it almost disappeared, falling below 100 in the 1960s—rebounding thanks to national efforts to protect them from poaching and preserve the riverine grasslands and jungles of southern Nepal that make up their habitat. headtopics.com

Read more: The Wall Street Journal »

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