- The Union Environment Ministry has started a project to create DNA profiles of all rhinos in India. The deadline of the project is 2021. Once completed, the Indian rhino could be the first wild animal species in India to have all its members DNA-sequenced.
- Proponents of the project include World Wide Fund for Nature-India (WWF-India) and the Wildlife Institute of India (WII). The Wildlife Institute of India is an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate change.
- According to experts, once the project is completed it would be helpful in curbing poaching and gathering evidence in wildlife crimes involving rhinos.
- The project is a subset of recently launched National Rhino Conservation Strategy for India. The strategy focuses on a) strengthening protection, b) expanding present distribution range by at least 5%, research on rhinos in India, c) active Indo- Nepal and Indo- Bhutan trans-boundary engagement, and d) emphasis on use of wildlife forensics for controlling poaching and illegal trade in rhino parts and products.
- The Great one horned Rhinoceros (Indian rhinoceros) is found in the Indian subcontinent. It is listed as Vulnerable in the ICUN Red List.
- There are about 2,600 rhinos in India, with more than 90% of the population concentrated in Assam’s Kaziranga National Park. Outside Kaziranga, there are about 200 rhinos in West Bengal, 40 in Uttar Pradesh and 1 in Bihar.
- In 2005, Indian Rhino Vision (IRV) 2020 programme to protect and increase the population of the one-horned rhinoceros. The programme was launched by Assam Forest Department in partnership with WWF-India, the International Rhino Foundation and US Fish & Wildlife Service. It aims to attain a wild population of at least 3,000 greater one-horned rhinos spread over seven protected areas in Assam by the year 2020.
- At the recent Second Asian Rhino Range Countries Meeting in New Delhi, India has signed the New Delhi Declaration on Asian Rhinos 2019. Under the declaration India will collaborate with Bhutan, Nepal, Indonesia and Malaysia for conservation and protection of three Asian rhino species- Greater one-horned rhinoceros, Javan rhinoceros and Sumatran rhinoceros. The population of these rhino species will be reviewed every 4 years to reassess the need for joint actions to secure their future.
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