2016 Activities . . .
Safe guarding the Greater One-horned Rhino meta-population in North Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, India with community support through conservation education and awareness
Dr. B.A. Daniel
Project Summary: The objective of the project is to identify conservation educators in rhino range areas holding meta-populations in India (West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh), provide lively training and effective education materials on the Greater One-horned Rhino conservation to selected conservation educators ultimately reaching to wider communities who live in and around the Protected Areas (PAs). This is carried out based on the recommendations of Rhino specialists, that is to involve local community in rhino conservation, implementing education and awareness programmes and to reduce human-rhino conflicts so as to save the species from local extinction, subsequently a series of awareness programmes for the community.
Most of the rhino populations occur exclusively within the Protected Areas within India (Assam, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal) and Nepal. The Asian Rhino Specialist Group reported (2013) that about 3,339 the Greater One-horned Rhinos live in the above states. It also reports that the Greater One-horned Rhino populations are increasing over all, however, some populations are decreasing in certain parts of Nepal and northeastern India (IUCN 2015). Various threats such as poaching, habitat loss, fragmentation, etc. are influencing species loss, which, if not addressed, will affect the long-term survival of the species. Rhino conservation efforts in this region has a long history and ongoing two major fruitful efforts are Rhino Vision 2020 and Nepal Rhino Action Plan. Involving local stakeholders in rhino conservation, implementing education and awareness programs and reducing human-rhino conflicts are some of the recommendations of Indian Rhino Vision 2020 too. The population is severely fragmented and over 70% of the population is in Kaziranga National Park, Assam. Rhino Vision 2020 is mainly addressing issues of Kaziranga Nation Park and other Protected Areas within Assam State. Other Rhino range areas in India such as Dudhwa National Park, Uttar Pradesh, Gorumara National Park and Jaldapara National Park, West Bengal, India which holds small populations requires equal attention. This project fulfills this requirement.