India urged to increase park security to protect rhinos
New Delhi: Concerned over growing incidents of poaching of rhinos, five Asian rhino range nations in a resolution asked India to take measures, including increased level of security to wildlife parks, to protect the vulnerable species.
At the meeting of the five countries -- Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Nepal -- held in Indonesia`s Bandar Lampung, a common action plan was also agreed with the aim of increasing the population of Asian rhino by at least 3 per cent annually by 2020.
The one-horned rhinoceros is now primarily found in India and Nepal and its population ranges between 3,300 and 3,350 as in August, says IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Species Survival Commission which facilitated the meeting held on October 3.
However, its population is under pressure from illegal hunting. A recently established population of 18 rhinos in Manas National Park in Assam has already lost five to poaching. Several rhinos fell to poachers` bullets in the state`s Kaziranga National Park also.
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 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 also suggested India to set up a coordination body to draft a national rhino conservation plan.
The coordination body should comprise chief wildlife wardens, protected area managers and relevant state police and other relevant enforcement agency officials of the states with rhino populations, representatives of the National Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, representatives of the Environment Ministry and relevant NGOs and individuals involved in rhino conservation, it said.
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