Conservation Evidence strives to be as useful to conservationists as possible. Please take our survey to help the team improve our resource.

Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Past, present and future conservation of the greater one-horned rhinoceros Rhinoceros unicornis in Nepal

Published source details

Thapa K., Nepal S., Thapa G., Bhatta S.R. & Wikramanayake E. (2013) Past, present and future conservation of the greater one-horned rhinoceros Rhinoceros unicornis in Nepal. Oryx, 47, 345-351


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Legally protect habitat for mammals Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A before-and-after study in 1950–2011 in an area dominated by forest and grassland in western Nepal (Thapa et al. 2013) found that greater one-horned rhinoceros Rhinoceros unicornis numbers more than tripled over 38 years after the establishment of a national park. Rhinoceros numbers declined >80% (from 800 in 1950 to 147 in 1972) during the 23 years before the establishment of the national park. However, during the 38 after the establishment of the national park, numbers increase by >70% (from 147 in 1972 to 534 in 2011). The study area became the Chitwan National Park in 1973. Since 1975, rhinoceroses were protected by the Nepal Army and, in 2007, a nationwide anti-poaching programme was launched. In 1986–2003, eighty-three rhinoceroses were translocated from Chitwan National Park to other reserves. Monitoring details are not provided.

(Summarised by Ricardo Rocha)

Translocate to re-establish or boost populations in native range Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A study in 1986­–2011 in two reserves in western Nepal (Thapa et al. 2013) found that translocated populations of the greater one-horned rhinoceros Rhinoceros unicornis persisted for at least 11–25 years post-release. On one reserve, there were 67 rhinoceroses in 2000, fourteen years after the first translocations, but this fell to a count of 24 rhinoceroses 11 years later. Poaching was thought to be the main cause of deaths. The second reserve had seven rhinoceroses 11 years after the translocations. Between 1986 and 2003, eighty-three rhinoceroses (38 males, 45 females) were translocated to Bardia National Park and, in 2000, four rhinoceros (three females and one male) were translocated to Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve, which already held a single male. From 1986–2003, rhinoceros in Bardia National Park were protected by anti-poaching patrols formed of 10–15 soldiers and in 2007 a nationwide anti-poaching programme was launched. Monitoring details are not provided.

(Summarised by Ricardo Rocha)