Kaziranga National Park is all set to play host to experts from Rhino range countries, who will discuss various efforts in saving the animal. The major agenda of the meeting will be to chalk out a global action plan to extend the survival of the animal in Asia.
The meeting is being organised by the Asian Rhino Specialist Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) from 10th to 12th February 2010.
Although India still does not have a definite national strategy to conserve Rhino species, the state levels are doing there bit to save the animal from extinction. Commendable among them is the state of Assam which has increased the penalties for convictions of poaching “Schedule 1 animals” which include rhinos. The previous three-year jail term in the original act has been increased to seven years, and the seven-year sentence has been increased to 10 years.
There are three Rhino species in Asia - greater one-horned rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis), Javan (Rhinoceros sondaicus) and Sumatran (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis). Of these, the population of the greater one-horned rhinoceros is estimated at 2,800 and it is rising with a majority of the species found in India. The population of the Javan rhino is under 50 and of the Sumatran under 300 and the trend is declining in both the cases.
Experts say that the Javan and the Sumatran sub-species are critically endangered and if nothing concrete is done now, their survival is doomed.
In India, hope still survives for the one-horned rhino with its steady population rise, but this good news can only remain consistent with measures to re-introduce rhinos to former ranges and a stronger anti-poaching drive.
Flickr photos by Mister-E and CharlesSF