Observations on habitat preference of translocated rhinos in Bardia National Park and Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve, Nepal.

Kanchan Thapa, A. Christy Williams, Sarala Khaling, Shyam Bajimaya

Abstract


Chitwan National Park had the only surviving greater one-horned rhino population in Nepal until the 1980s. To reduce the threat of losing this population to natural calamities, catastrophic events and poaching, rhinos were translocated to the Bardia National Park (BNP) and the Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve (SWR). Translocations have thus been used as an active and successful management tool for rhinos in Nepal. As a follow up to these translocations, it was important to assess habitat use and the distribution pattern of rhinos in the new habitats. Monitoring was conducted in the Karnali floodplain of the BNP and in the core area of the SWR. Monitoring was based on direct observation and surveys of rhino signs (dung, track etc.). In BNP, rhinos were found to use grassland habitat, particularly in the floodplain areas. In the SWR, rhinos were found using the habitats between two river systems, which were comprised mainly of grassland, intermixed with wetlands and riverine forests. Breeding and an increase in the population show that the habitats in their former range (BNP and SWR) are still suitable for rhinos.

Keywords


Rhinos, Translocation, Habitat, Floodplain, Nepal

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