Being one of the rare breeds, the one-horned rhino has faced so much over the year. The high demand for their skin and horn in the black market had almost lead them to extinct. Moreover, wildlife trafficking was the major cause of the shrinking numbers of these animals previously. Meanwhile, the endangered animal one horn rhino once again is in danger and its new threat is not hunting.
The changing environment and climatic disasters like landslides floods and invasive plants spice are the new threat for the endangered breed one horn rhino. Overall, the natural disaster in different regions of Nepal has become a new and major threat to these endangered breeds.
Threat For One Horn Rhino
Most of the One horn Rhino of Nepal resides in the protected area like Chitwan National Park, Bardiya National Park, and Suklaphanta National Park. However, change in environment and rapid warming atmosphere is leading them to extinct once again. On 11 July 2020, In Chitwan National Park the most protected area for one horn rhino, eight dead rhinos were found dead.
Most of them died due to the unprecedented flood on the Narayani River of Nepal. Actually, the Narayani River is considered to be the submerge for their grassland habitat. On October 7 dead body of a Rhino was washed up on river banks which was assumed to be drowned in the Balkimi Gandaki irrigation Canal.
The endangered breed one horn rhino had gone through many threats over the year. But climate change has imposed new problems. According to expert Shantaraj Gyawali, who did his Ph.D. on rhino conservation says
Erratic weather, including heavy rains and floods during the monsoon and prolonged drought in the dry season have altered the rhino’s riverine habitat.
The changing weather with too much rain in the monsoon and too little in spring has created a high risk for these animals. On the other hand, being an agro-based nation, the people of Nepal requires water. This need for farmers of Nepal has reduced the sea level because farmers outside the park are over extracting groundwater. And it has also lead many waterholes dry which used to serves as the water sources for rhino.
Changing Climate New Threat For One Horn Rhino
This year’s record-breaking rainfall was recorded by eight rainfall. Seven of these were in the regions like Kaski, Baglung, Syangja, and Parbat. In July-September, the Kaski district reported a record 4,519 mm rain, 33 percent higher than average. The highest rainfall ever recorded was also recorded in Lamjung and Kusma district. The rain this year was in Chitwan itself 3,130 mm, well above the annual average of 2,450 mm.
Furthermore, the tall grass along the floodplains and oxbow lakes along the Rapti and Narayani Rivers are being replaced by invasive species which has pushed rhinos from the park into the tourist towns of Chitwan such as Sauraha and Meghauli.
In these areas, the rhinos on the streets are usually to spot. With it, there have also been instances of rhinos being electrocuted or poisoned by buffer zone farmers fearing loss of crops.
Efforts To Protect endangered Rhinos
The death of rhinos in this monsoon has frightened the officials in the Chitwan National Park. The National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Department has dug 500 tanks in the Tarai parks, with 200 more readies for the next season.
It also attempted to recover natural grass in rhino’s floodplain pasture and other ungulates that are vulnerable to tigers and other carnivores.