Bring states with rhinos under one conservation plan: WWF
GUWAHATI: Expressing concern over spurt in rhino poaching in Assam, WWF-India has said that adoption of National Rhino Conservation Plan (NRCP) has become imperative for the protection of the species.
"After decades of conservation success, which resulted in the population of rhinos in Assam rising to more than 2,500 at present, the spurt in poaching over the last couple of years seems to indicate that poaching syndicates are strengthening. To avoid loss of these hard-fought gains, there is an urgent need for the adoption of NRCP for India," WWF-India said on the occasion of World Rhino Day on Saturday.
The NGO has asked Union minister of state for environment and forest, Jayanti Natarajan, to take the lead in putting NRCP in place by bringing together four rhino-bearing states of Assam,West Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
"The adoption of NRCP will increase coordination among the rhino-bearing states and enable sharing of best practices and information on poaching syndicates. This will help in better protection of Indians rhinos", said WWF-India's director of species and landscapes Dipankar Ghose.
The WWF-India has also pointed out that increasing use of firearms like AK-47 rifles in killing rhinos, especially at Kaziranga National Park, indicated growing sophistication and easy access to deadly weapons among poaching syndicates.
"The thirtieth rhino killed this year in India fell to poacher's bullets in Kaziranga on September 17. As India and rest of the world celebrate rhinos and their conservation successes on World Rhino Day, this latest killing is a grim reminder of the challenges being faces in protecting rhinos in India," the WWF-India said.
Of the 30 rhinos killed in the country, the majority of the casualties are from Assam which lost at least 25 one-horned pachyderms to poachers this year. In Kaziranga, 21 rhinos were killed by poachers, while Manas National Park and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary lost three and one rhinos respectively this year.