Bihar constitutes 'Rhino Task Force' to revive rhino conservation in Valmiki Tiger Reserve

Tags: State News

The Bihar government will set up a 'Rhino Task Force' to propose measures to restart the rhino conservation plan in 'Valmiki Tiger Reserve' (VTR) located in West Champaran district.

An Overview of the News 

  • The VTR has seen a significant increase in the tiger population, prompting state wildlife officials to focus on reviving the rhino population in the region.

  • At present, VTR has only one rhino, while Patna Zoo has 14 rhinos. With the formation of a 'rhino task force', officials aim to bring more rhinos back into the reserve.

Valmiki Tiger Reserve selected for National Rhino Conservation Plan:

  • Valmiki Tiger Reserve has been selected as a potential site under the National Rhino Conservation Plan.

  • This national level scheme allows rhinos to be introduced into Valmiki Tiger Reserve from other reserves across the country to boost their conservation.

Committee Recommendations Lead to Formation of 'Rhino Task Force':

  • A committee was set up about two years ago to evaluate the habitat and security conditions in Valmiki Tiger Reserve.

  • The main objective of the committee was to assess the feasibility and potential challenges of reintroducing rhinos to the reserve.

  • Based on the recommendations and findings of the report of the committee, a 'Rhino Task Force' is being formed.

The revitalization plan Aims to Expand Rhino-Bearing Areas in VTR:

  • The reintroduction plan aims to increase the areas within the Valmiki Tiger Reserve where rhinos can thrive.

  • The goal is to expand rhinoceros-bearing areas by about 5% over the next two years.

  • This includes strategic relocation of rhinos from congested habitats to identified locations within the reserve, such as Ganauli and Madanpur, to provide more space for breeding and population growth.

India's Vital Role in One-Horned Rhino Conservation:

  • India plays a critical role in the conservation of the one-horned rhinoceros species.

  • Approximately 75% of the world's rhino population is found in India.

  • Notably, over 93% of India's rhino population resides in just one protected area, the Kaziranga National Park in the state of Assam.

  • This highlights India's significant responsibility in safeguarding and preserving the endangered one-horned rhinoceros for its global conservation efforts.

About Valmiki Tiger Reserve

  • It is located in the West Champaran district of Bihar and was established in 1990 as the 18th Tiger Reserve. It covers a core area of 909.86 km² within the Valmiki Sanctuary.

  • Valmiki Tiger Reserve has seen a significant increase in tiger population, which ranks fourth in tiger density. From 31 tigers recorded in 2018, the reserve sees a significant increase to 54 tigers in 2022, representing a 75% increase in numbers.

  • In the last four years, there has been an impressive addition of 23 tigers to the reserve, further boosting conservation efforts.

  • The successful increase in the number of tigers in Valmiki Tiger Reserve has prompted the Bihar government to take action. He has initiated the process of developing the 'Kaimur Wildlife Sanctuary (KWC)' into another tiger reserve or 'tiger-bearing landscape' within the state.

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