Jorhat (Assam): Rhino population in Kaziranga National Park has registered an increase of 72 even as 54 pachyderms were poached at the world heritage site since 2013.
According to the latest rhino census that ended last week, the animal population has been estimated to be 2,401 in Kaziranga National Park (KNP) while the figure was 2,329 after the census in 2013, KNP Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) SK Seal Sarma said.
However, the number of rhinos could be about 200 more as several of them are moving out to additional areas of the KNP which are yet to be included in the census, the DFO said.
The 2015 census found 1,651 adults (663 male, 802 female, 186 unsexed), 294 sub-adults (90 male, 114 female, 90 unsexed), 251 juveniles and 205 cubs.
While sub-adult rhinos belong to the age group of 4-5 years, juveniles fall in 1-3 year bracket. The animals whose gender could not be determined belong to unsexed category.
While 1993 census found 1,164 rhinos, the number of the animals in other years are 1,152 (1999), 1,855 (2006), 2,048 (2009) and 2,290 (2012).
KNP officials said it is a good sign that rhino population increased despite the fact that 54 rhinos were poached in the KNP since 2013.
Union Forest Minister Prakash Javadekar recently said a central protection force will be raised soon mainly to protect the world-famous animal from poachers at the KNP.
At least 75 rhinoceros have been killed by poachers across different forests in Assam since 2013.