Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has expressed hope that Assam would soon come forward with a long-term rhino conservation project to protect the animal.

Chairing the fifth National Board of Wildlife (NBWL) meeting at New Delhi on Thursday, he expressed concern over more and more species being listed in endangered species list.

He called upon the state governments to strengthen their structure to enhance wildlife conservation and mooted the formation of a Conservation Foundation in each of the protected areas on the lines of Tiger Foundation in each Tiger Reserve, Assam’s prominent wildlife NGO ‘Aaranyak’s’ secretary general and NBWL member Bibhab Talukdar, who attended the meeting, said here on Saturday.

Union Environment and Forest Minister Jairam Ramesh said the ministry was open to providing 50 per cent of the salary to newly recruited frontline staff in states for the next five years but state governments have to bear the remaining amount.

NBWL members suggested that Compensatory Afforestation funds be used to purchase lands to connect key protected areas keeping in view the landscape and also buying key corridors and also relocation of villages, Talukdar said.