Kaziranga national park in Assam, India is regarded as the home of world’s largest populace of one horned rhinos. However, there was a time when almost entire northern part of India served as the habitat of rhinos. But later due to varied reasons, this beautiful species turned endangered and even vanished from various regions. Indian Rhino Vision 2020 (IRV 2020) is an initiative to bring the lost scenario back. This vision aims at increasing the number of one horned rhinos to 3,000 in seven protected areas of Assam till year 2020. As per the second phase of IRV, translocation and re-introduction of rhinos has been successfully taken place at Manas National Park. Now this second phase is planned to be executed and extended in two more wildlife sanctuaries – Laokhowa and Burachapori, at Nagaon district, Assam.
Indian Rhino Vision 2020 is a joint initiative of different prominent wildlife conservation departments. The organizations included in the project are mentioned below:
• Assam Forest Department
• Bodoland Territorial Council
• World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)
• International Rhino Foundation (IRF)
• US Fish and Wildlife Service
As stated above, this joint venture brings the objective of ascending the rhino counts up to 3,000 within the seven protected areas of Assam till the year 2020. For the accomplishment of this aim, the vision has been divided into two phases.
TIME OF COMMENCEMENT: 2005
Aim: Attempts for boosting the protection of the rhinos existing at national parks.
Before attempts could be made for increasing the count, it is essential to safeguard the existing populace. Special task force was hired to stringent the patrolling at Pobitora and Kaziranga Wildlife Sanctuary. Poaching is one of the biggest threats for one horned rhinos and the special task force is putting forward its best efforts to bring down the same peril.
TIME OF COMMENCEMENT: 2006
Aim: Translocation and re-introduction of rhinos within Assam
Before the translocation, proper sites were indentified for shifting the wild. The grasslands of Manas National Park were found to be one of the best suitable places for the same. The first translocation of one horned rhino at Manas was in year 2006 from Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC). So initially the journey began from CWRC and was later joined by Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary and Kaziranga National Park.
Similar to Loakkhowa and Burachapori wildlife sanctuaries, Manas was earlier a habitat of rhinos. Unfortunately in the civil conflict during 1996 – 2004, Manas National Park became the soft target of the poachers. It was way back in 1996, when last rhino was spotted at the respective park. However, providentially with the second phase of IRV 2020, Manas is presently embellished with the splendid species – one horned rhinoceros.
IMPORTANT DATES DURING PHASE II:
• During 2006 – 2008, 4 rhinos were relocated from CWRC
• April 12, 2008 – 2 rhinos relocated from Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary
• December 28, 2010 – 2 rhinos relocated from Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary
• January 17, 2011 – 4 rhinos relocated from Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary
• February 19, 2012 – 4 rhinos relocated from Kaziranga National Park
• March 11, 2012 -4 and 2 rhinos relocated from Kaziranga and CWRC respectively
In total 22 rhinos were re-introduced till 2012 at Manas National Park.
Indian Rhino Vision 2020 is making great steps towards success. With its plan to extend the second phase at Loakkhowa and Burachapori wildlife sanctuaries, the objective of IRV seems to set another milestone.