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Bihar to Constitute ‘Rhino Task Force’ for Reintroduction of Rhino Conservation Scheme

What’s in News?

The Bihar government to constitute ‘Rhino Task Force’ for suggesting measures for the reintroduction of rhino conservation scheme in ‘Valmiki Tiger Reserve’ in West Champaran district. The state’s wildlife authorities have observed a substantial increase in the tiger population in VTR, prompting them to focus on reviving the rhino population in the region. Currently, there is only one rhino in VTR and 14 in Patna Zoo, but with the establishment of the ‘Rhino Task Force’, the authorities aim to bring back more rhino to the reserve.

The Rhino Conservation Scheme

The Valmiki Tiger Reserve has been selected as a potential site under the National Rhino Conservation Scheme, where rhino from other reserves across the country may be brought in. A committee was set up about two years back to assess the habitat and security conditions in VTR and to suggest measures for the reintroduction of rhinos.

Reintroduction Plan

The committee set up two years back, recently submitted its report and on the basis of the recommendations of the committee, the state government of Bihar constitute the ‘Rhino Task Force’ which will be responsible for suggesting measures to implement the reintroduction scheme successfully.

The plan aims to increase the rhino-bearing areas in VTR by 5% over the next two years. This will involve shifting of rhinos from crowded habitat to identified areas in the reserve, such as Ganauli and Madanpur, to provide more space for breeding and multiplication.

India’s role in Rhino Conservation

India plays a crucial role in the conservation of one-horned rhinoceros, with approximately 75% of the world population of rhino resides in India and more than 93% of the Indian rhino population lives in just one protected area in Assam- The Kaziranga National Park.

About Valmiki Tiger Reserve

Valimik Tiger Reserve, located in the West Champaran district of Bihar, was established as the 18th tiger reserve in 1990 and ranked 4th in the density of the tiger population. The VTR occupies a core area of 909.86 sq.km of the Valimiki Sanctuary.

 VTR recently recorded a 75% increase in tiger numbers from 31 in 2018 to 54 in 2022. There has been increase of 23 tigers in the last four years. Enthused by the sharp increase in tiger population at VTR, the Bihar government has also initiated the process of developing the  ‘Kaimur wildlife sanctuary (KWC)’ into another tiger reserve or ‘tiger bearing landscape’ in the state.

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