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SOS Rhino : In the News : Dwindling sex-ratio of rhinos at West Bengal Gorumara National park

Dwindling sex-ratio of rhinos at West Bengal Gorumara National park

Posted on 13 Nov 2005 #ANI

By Pallav Basu, Jalpaiguri (West Bengal): A skewed sex-ratio among the herbivorous heavyweights is worrying conservators at the Gorumara National Park in the Jalpaiguri district. The forest officials have warned it could even result in dwindling the rhino population.

Poachers are also the cause for worry for wildlife officials at the reserve for the critically endangered one-horned rhinoceros in West Bengal.

Officials say Gorumara's rhinos are facing a serious situation with their population reaching an almost equal number of males and females. Recently, many rhinos, involved in violent fights over sexual supremacy, were spotted across the Park.

gThe most acceptable (ratio) is 1:3; even 1:2 is all right. But in Gorumara, the sex ratio between males and females is 1:1, which is the main problem and there's nothing we can do to tackle it. If we want to bring in females from outside, none of the institutions (Zoos) will give us females to bring here. And even in the case of males, even if you bring some males here, the Gorumara rhinos will not accept them,h says Tapas Das, Divisional Forest Officer.

Forest officials have recorded three rhino deaths in the last nine months. They are hopeful the ratio would improve soon.

Forest officials at Gorumara said that after poaching, which is virtually non-existent at Gorumara due to extremely alert guards and cooperative foresters, the declining sex-ratio is the worst reality for rhinos.

The one-horned rhino, found in the wild only in India, has its highest population in the Kaziranga National Park in Assam, where 1700 rhinos are believed to graze in the vast marshy grasslands of the mighty Brahmaputra river basin.

Situated beside the National Highway 31, Gorumara connects Siliguri and Guwahati. Declared as a sanctuary in 1976, Gorumara forest got the status of a national park recently. Initially, it covered an area of 8.61 square kilometre, the national park is now spread over 79.45 sq. Km.

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