Flood Modelling to Determine the Habitat dynamics of Greater One-horned Rhinoceros in Chitwan National Park, Nepal

9 Sep 2022 Chitwan National Park, Nepal, Indian Sub-continent Mammals

Sheila Ghimire

Flooding is an annual event in the southern region (Terai) of Nepal, which has not only affected human lives, but also the wildlife living in the vicinity of flood prone regions. The two river systems (Narayani and Rapti) within the Chitwan National Park experience seasonal flood affecting the habitat of Greater One-horned Rhinoceros. Rhino in Nepal are vulnerable to climate and land use changes, and a shift in rhinoceros’ habitat by the year 2070 would be expected due to the fluctuations in temperature and rainfall causing changes in the availability and quality of grasslands and wetlands (Pant et al., 2021).

Rhino encountered in the park.

Rhino encountered in the park.

Ironically, seasonal flooding is important to maintain the habitat of rhinoceros but has caused many of the individuals to be washed away downstream beyond the Indo-Nepal border. Therefore, it is important to understand the flooding dynamics within the wet grasslands habitat of rhino to prevent alteration in the viable population of rhino.

The project will integrate the water dynamics of the study area with the habitat dynamics of rhinoceros in order to map the extent of inundation in the existing as well as potential habitat of rhino. The outcome of the project will create a base for the management of water and wetland so that the rhino conservation will be achieved for long run.

Header: East Rapti Floodplain with dykes.

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