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Endangered rhino inhabitants is rising because of Covid-19 lockdown

Officials say the pandemic has benefited the unicorned rhino population in a big way.

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13, 2021

2 min read

Nepal's critically endangered rhino population has grown in part due to a nationwide pandemic-related lockdown, reports the Wall Street Journal.

In the past six years, the population in four national parks has grown from 645 rhinos to 752, according to the country's Department of National Parks and Conservation.

"It is great news for all of us who care about rhinoceros conservation," Deepak Kumar Kharal, director general of the department, told the publication. "Covid-19 played a small but important role in growing our rhinoceros population."

Related: What Makes Nepal a Quiet but Brilliant Economy?

Interviewers believe the lockdown was a particularly significant contributor to population growth, saying that the closure of the wildlife sanctuaries gave the rhinos more freedom to move and mate.

In the 1960s, the rhinoceros population in Nepal fell below 100 at one point before the country launched initiatives to protect the animals from poaching and preserve their habitats in the southern region, the Journal said. Rhinoceros horns have long been coveted in both Southeast Asia and China.

According to AFP, the Nepalese government has been conducting a rhino census every five years since 1994. Only 466 rhinos were counted that year.

"The general population growth is an indication of the ongoing conservation and habitat management efforts of the protected area authorities despite difficult contexts in recent years," said Ghana Gurung, representative of the World Wildlife Fund in Nepal, in a statement received from the sales point.

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