Resources Himalaya Foundation (RHF) successfully organized a talk program on Rhino with Dr. Babu Ram Lamichhane, Office In-Charge at National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC)’s Biodiversity Conservation Center. He presented on the topic “Rhino Conservation in Nepal: Opportunities, Threats and Challenges”.
The talk primarily focused on the rhino conservation and the opportunities and threats involved in it. Giving a brief overview about the total population of rhinos and the status of rhino in different national parks of Nepal, Dr. Lamichhane mentioned that there have been various ups and downs in the population trend of rhino. From 1960-1965 the population of rhino decreased drastically and after some conservation efforts, the trend showed an increase. However, a decrease was seen again in 2005, but the population again went up after government imposed control on poaching and carried other conservation efforts. He elaborated that since rhino is the umbrella species of Terai, there are various opportunities that comes with its conservation such as improvement of local economy through tourism, and other activities like scientific research. He further revealed the challenges involved in conservation such as poaching and illegal trade, habitat loss and degradation, flood and other natural calamities, human-rhino conflict, and climate change. He highlighted that the shrinking of grasslands and degraded condition of about half of the wetlands directly affects rhino population. Various collaborative conservation efforts are being carried out like translocation of rhinos to Bardiya and Shuklaphanta National Park, grassland & wetland management, research and monitoring, and community participation. Dr. Lamichhane concluded the talk by sharing a lesson learnt that collaborative efforts and community stewardship is very important to control the poaching and conserve the rhino. Furthermore, reintroduction in historical ranges can create new population of rhino. The presentation was followed by an interaction session between the guest speaker and the participants and ended with a vote of thanks and closing remarks from Dr. Dinesh Neupane, Executive Director of Resources Himalaya Foundation.