Concerned over growing incidents of poaching of rhinos, five Asian rhino range nations, including India, have resolved to increase the level of security in wildlife parks to protect the vulnerable species.
Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Nepal made the resolve in a meeting facilitated by International Union for Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission in Bandar Lampung a couple of days ago. The underlining aim is to increase the population of Asian rhino by at least 3 per cent annually by 2020.
According to IUCN data, population of one-horned rhino ranges between 3,300- 3,350 (as in August), that are largely found in India and Nepal. The meeting noted that poaching continues to be the largest threat to its population. While Manas National Park in Assam has lost five out of its 18 rhinos, over 20 of them have been killed in Kaziranga National Park too.
Taking serious note of these incidents, the meeting asked India to “continue to increase the level of protection in the protected areas with rhino populations and in potential translocation sites to ensure that poaching does not threaten the growth of the population”.
The meeting also suggested that maintenance and restoration of habitats in corridors should be ensured in order to increase connectivity between rhino populations through integrated landscape planning.
It further suggested that India should set up a coordination body to draft a national rhino conservation plan. The coordination body should comprise chief wildlife wardens, managers of protected areas and concerned enforcement agencies, including State police and other officials besides representatives from the National Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, members from the Environment Ministry and other organisations, including NGOs and individuals involved in rhino conservation.
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