Zee Zest

World Rhino Day – one horned rhino conservation

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The one horned Rhino that is endemic to the subcontinent is found in encouraging numbers in Assam and its conservation efforts add to its enigma.

Kaziranga in Assam, home to the largest number of the one horned rhino was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Interestingly it is the conservation success story that has taken the count from a few 100 to over 3000 that is worth emulating.

One horned rhino in Kaziranga
One horned rhino in Kaziranga

Dr. Rathin Barman, Joint Director, Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) is currently participating in the verification process of rhino horns, that is a precursor to the Assam government’s decision to destroy confiscated rhino horns in Assam.

In the 1990s the small rhino population of Manas National Park was wiped out during a decade of civil unrest. Rhinos were poached and their habitat was destroyed by insurgents. From 2006, alongside WTI’s long-term partners IFAW and the Assam Forest Department, we started work to repopulate the park with key wildlife, including rhinos, and expand protected land for these animals.

Forest officer patrolling in Kaziranga National Park
Forest officer patrolling in Kaziranga National Park

Between 2006 and 2020 we moved 16 flood-rescued and rehabilitated rhino calves from Kaziranga to Manas where they have bred and added to the rhino population of Manas. This year WTI moved three more.

IFAW-WTI have built capacity of frontline forest staff in Manas through training and providing legal support to ensure convictions in rhino poaching cases.

Many schools and communities around the fringes of Manas NP have got involved in conservation following IFAW-WTI’s community engagement, using the rhino as flagship species.

Read the full story that first appeared in Zee Zest here:

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