Two adult one-horned rhinos were recently translocated from Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary to Manas National Park, under the aegis of the Indian Rhino Vision 2020 (IRV 2020).
- With this last leg of wild-to-wild translocation under IRV2020, a total of 22 rhinos have been translocated from Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary (12) and Kaziranga National Park (10) to Manas National Park.
About Indian Rhino Vision 2020:
- Launched in 2005, Indian Rhino Vision 2020 was an ambitious effort to attain a wild population of at least 3,000 greater one-horned rhinos spread over seven protected areas in the Indian state of Assam by the year 2020.
- Seven protected areas are Kaziranga, Pobitora, Orang National Park, Manas National Park, Laokhowa wildlife sanctuary, Burachapori wildlife sanctuary and Dibru Saikhowa wildlife sanctuary.
- Wild-to-wild translocations were an essential part of IRV2020 – moving rhinos from densely populated parks like Kaziranga NP, to ones in need of more rhinos, like Manas NP.
- It is a collaborative effort between various organizations, including the International Rhino Foundation, Assam’s Forest Department, Bodoland Territorial Council, World Wide Fund – India, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
About One- horned rhinos:
- Only the Great One-Horned Rhino is found in India.
- Also known as Indian rhino, it is the largest of the rhino species.
- It is identified by a single black horn and a grey-brown hide with skin folds.
- They primarily graze, with a diet consisting almost entirely of grasses as well as leaves, branches of shrubs and trees, fruit, and aquatic plants.
- IUCN Red List: Vulnerable.
- Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES): Appendix I (Threatened with extinction and CITES prohibits international trade in specimens of these species except when the purpose of the import is not commercial, for instance for scientific research).
- Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule I.
Performance of the Program:
- Target of attaining a population of 3,000 rhinos almost achieved but the animal could be reintroduced in only one of the four protected areas planned.
- The plan to spread the Greater one-horned rhino across four protected areas beyond Kaziranga National Park, Orang National Park and Pobitora could not materialise.
- The translocated rhinos helped Manas National Park get back its World Heritage Site status in 2011.
- 2018 and 2019 saw significant decreases in poaching, the results of forestry, local and national government officials coordinating efforts to combat wildlife crime across Assam.
Habitat of Greater One-Horned Rhino:
- The species is restricted to small habitats in Indo-Nepal terai and northern West Bengal and Assam.
- In India, rhinos are mainly found in Kaziranga NP, Pobitora WLS, Orang NP, Manas NP in Assam, Jaldapara NP and Gorumara NP in West Bengal and Dudhwa TR in Uttar Pradesh.