Greater One-Horned Rhino Conservation in Nepal
ZSL has a long conservation history with Nepal. Some of the projects include the setup of veterinary clinics in the community buffer zones of Chitwan National Park, vulture rescue project and the Bardia Babai valley river survey.
ZSL’s main project currently is the conservation of the Greater One Horned rhino. The team are also trying to get a vulture breeding project off the ground to compensate for the severe losses of Gyps species from secondary poisoning from the drug diclofenac used in cattle and humans in the region. ZSL’s two female rhinos came from Nepal as a gift somewhat controversially from the then King. The current work shows ZSL is committed in the long-term and the captive programme is considered an integral part of the protection of the free-ranging population.
Greater One-Horned rhinoceros are restricted to small protected areas primarily in north-eastern India and Nepal (Chitwan National Park-CNP, Bardia National Park-BNP and Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve-SWR).
These rhinos are highly vulnerable due to intensification of agriculture and habitat loss, a burgeoning human population and poaching. Furthermore, Nepal has been facing dramatic socio-economic and political challenges over the last decade that negatively impacted the recovery of rhino; which had previously shown considerable progress. ZSL received a UK Government Darwin Initiative 3-year Grant in March 2007 to address these and the habitat and community engagement issues.
Chitwan NP holds the second highest population in the world and for this and its other endangered species, such as the Bengal tiger (also in decline) and Asian wild elephant, has been designated a World Heritage Site.