By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, April 4: State Environment and Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahma has pointed out two developments in her department as encouraging – rise in revenue collection and breeding of rhinos.
Addressing the media here on Wednesday, Brahma pointed out the large number of deaths of rhino between the last rhino census and the recent census.
“Since the last Census, around 359 rhinos died in Kaziranga tiol Park due to tural causes and poaching. If we take this into account and add to this year’s count of 2,413, the total number would be 2,772. In the 2015 census rhino population was 2,401. So I feel the growth is encouraging,” Brahma told the media, and added: “As many as 747 rhinos died in the past seven years – 139 were killed by poachers, 65 by tigers, 106 by floods and 387 faced tural death. At present KNP, Pabitora, Orang and Mas together have 2,650 rhinos.”
The minister, however, admitted that a fresh estimation would be done next year with advanced techniques, as this year the exercise was not precise due to presence of tall grasses and construction of highlands.
“We couldn’t burn the dense grass completely due to inclement weather. We should have burnt at least 60-70 per cent of the grass for the census, but only around 30 per cent was possible. Some animals could have gone unspotted. We’ll conduct the exercise again next year. We feel the number would be much higher,” she said.
The minister also expressed doubts over the estimation carried at Orang in 2012. At Orang, the number of rhinos, according to the recent census, is 101, just one higher than the count in 2012.
“You see the trend at Orang. The rhino population was 68 in 2006, 64 in 2009 and 100 in 2012. Is this jump possible?”She questioned.
The total rhino count in the four tiol parks is 2650, according to the recent census, with Pobitora having 102 and Mas 34. The minister claimed that the male-female ratio of 1:1.2 and mother-infant ratio of 1:0.49 at Kaziranga is very encouraging.
On revenue collection front, the minister said: “The department has collected Rs 145 crore as revenue in 2017-18 against Rs 140 crore in the last fiscal. This is an achievement.”