KOLKATA/RAIPUR: The rhino count in north Bengal forests has increased, but wildlife officials are not exulting. The lopsided gender ratio has left them rather worried.The census was done at two national parks, Jaldapara and Gorumara, by the forest department in February with the help of some NGOs.
At Jaldapara National Park in Alipurduar district, 98 rhinos out of 237 are male and 94 female. Among the rest, the gender of calves and sub-adults could not be immediately determined. At Gorumara in Jalpaiguri, there are 25 male and 17 female rhinos out of 52.
According to wildlife officials, the ideal male-female ratio should be 1:2. “In Jaldapara, the ratio is almost 1:1, but the ratio at Gorumara is worse. A low female count leads to more infighting among males and at Gorumara, there have been some deaths because of infighting,” said Ujjal Ghosh, chief conservator of forests and wildlife, north.The wildlife department, though, is taking steps to deal with the declining gender ratio by sending some males to a shelter for rhinos coming up in Cooch Behar district.
11 bears dead
With three more wild bears being killed after being electrocuted in a farmland close to a human settlement in Kanker district of Chhattisgarh, the total fatality figure has risen to 11 in six months. A female bear and two cubs came in contact with live electric wire used by farmers for their irrigation pumps.The forest department, which has been consistently raising awareness, finds itself helpless. “Usually during summer months, when small water sources inside forests dry up, wild animals tend to come close to human habitat. Most of these deaths appear to be accidental,” said Rakesh Chaturvedi, the state’s Principal Chief Conservator of Forest.