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The new figures show that the rhino population in Nepal's Terai Arc Landscape has increased 21% in the past four years.

There are now 645 rhinos there, compared to the 2011 estimate of 534.

It means rhino numbers in Nepal are the highest they've been since the early 1950s (click on graphic to enlarge) - a fantastic achievement, and one that the country is rightly proud of.
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As WWF Nepal's Anil Manandhar says: These are trying times for Nepal and its people. Stories such as this shine a much-needed ray of hope."

WWF supplied technical and financial support for the rhino count. Since the earthquake our colleagues in Nepal have been focusing their time and resources on supporting relief efforts and helping affected communities in the regions where they work.

Nepal's zero-poaching achievements

The increase in rhino numbers also comes just days after Nepal marked yet another 365-day period without a single rhino being poached - the third time in five years they've achieved this zero-poaching feat.

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It's a clear sign of the hard work and commitment of Nepal's government, working alongside WWF and other conservation partners and local communities to create a better future for this iconic species.

Constant vigilance and modern patrolling technologies have been key, because threats like poaching are still present. During the past year more than 650 people were arrested for involvement in wildlife crime in Chitwan alone.

Rhino counting - how it's done

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The rhino count was conducted from 11 April-2 May in Chitwan National Park, Parsa Wildlife Reserve, Bardia National Park, Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve and their buffer zones in the Terai Arc Landscape.

It was led by the government's Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation and Department of Forests, in collaboration with WWF Nepal and National Trust for Nature Conservation.

The count was done using a sweep operation with 267 official observers, including wildlife biologists, national park technical staff, conservationists, local people and the army - some riding on trained elephants to help traverse the difficult landscape.

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In order to estimate numbers, the observers gather unique identifying information from individual rhinos they see, so they can avoid double-counting. This can include the shape and size of horns, folds in the skin on the neck and rump, and other identifying characteristics or marks, for instance on the ears or around the body.

As a pilot scheme, the latest count also made use of a mobile-based platform developed by the Nepal army. Rhino data and images were captured using cell phones on-site and stored in real-time at the park headquarters in Chitwan.

How you can help...

Adopt a rhino.

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