Untitled Document

Conservation Issues & WWF-India's Interventions

 / ©: WWF-India
20 February, 2012: Four rhinos successfully translocated from Kaziranga to Manas National Park under the IRV 2020 programme.
© WWF-India

Conservation issues

For years, rhinos have been widely slaughtered for their horn, an ingredient in traditional Asian medicines. This, coupled with destruction of their habitat over the years, has brought rhinos to the brink of extinction. The Indian rhino could once be found from Pakistan all the way through India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar. By the turn of the century, this species had vanished from much of its range, and today only about 2500 survive in India and Nepal. Throughout their range, their habitat continues to dwindle fast due to conversion of grassland habitats into agricultural fields. The threat of poaching continues to be ever-present. Hence, there is a need to:
  • improve security in all rhino areas in India.
  • expand the distribution of rhinos to reduce risk of stochastic catastrophes.
  • manage the population in Pobitara WLS, Assam so that it is within the ecological and sociological carrying capacity of the WLS. The sociological carrying capacity is the number of rhinos that a PA can sustain without significant human-rhino conflict.
Other challenges:
The Forest Department faces major challenges like lack of equipment, finance, and shortage of staff which makes it difficult to implement conservation at the grassroots level. Two serious on the ground challenges include, containing poaching and loss of habitat to encroachments.
 / ©: WWF-India
Rhinos
© WWF-India

WWF-India’s interventions

Conserving the rhinos and their habitat is imperative. WWF-India has been working on rhino conservation for over four decades. The big programme initiated by WWF-India is the Indian Rhino Vision 2020 (IRV 2020). The vision of the programme is to increase the total rhino population in Assam to about 3000 by the year 2020 and just as significantly ensure that these rhinos are distributed over at least seven protected areas to provide long-term viability of an Assam metapopulation of the species. This will be achieved by translocating the rhinos from two source populations (Kaziranga and Pobitara) into 3 or 4 target Protected Areas (Manas, Laokhowa, Burachapori, Kochpora, Dibrusaikhowa and, possibly, Orang).