The Bihar government has decided to increase the population of the greater one-horned Rhinos by 3% annually in the State.
The State government has also decided to increase rhino-bearing areas in Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR) in the West Champaran district by 5% in the next two years, an official said.
"Decision to increase the population of greater one-horned Rhinos by 3% annually was taken at the 3rd Asian Rhino Range Countries Meeting held at Chitwan (Nepal) from February 3 to 5.
“Five Rhino Range Countries countries - India, Bhutan, Indonesia, Malaysia and Nepal - signed the Chitwan Declaration for Asian Rhinos Conservation (2023) and agreed on managing the population of the greater one-horned Rhinos, Javan and Sumatran Rhinos with the intention of achieving at least 3% annual growth rate in their population,” P.K. Gupta, Chief Wildlife Warden of Bihar, told PTI.
With an intention to increase the population of greater one-horned rhinos in the state also, decisions taken in Chitwan will be implemented in Bihar also, said Mr. Gupta, who was also part of the Indian delegation for the summit.
"The VTR has been selected as one of the potential sites under the National Rhino Conservation Strategy. For the assessment of security and habitat conditions in VTR and further to suggest measures for the reintroduction of the rhinos scheme in the reserve, a security and habitat assessment committee was formed in January 2020. The potentially identified areas for the reintroduction scheme in VTR are — Ganauli and Madanpur," he said.
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The Environment, Forests and Climate Change department of the Bihar government is also preparing to constitute a Rhino Task Force in the state for intensive monitoring and patrolling, he said.
Currently, an adult free-ranging male rhino has been in VTR for the last two years.
"Additionally, 14 captive rhinos are there in Patna Zoo as part of a conservation breeding programme. This is the biggest breeding programme for Asian one-horned rhinos in India. Offspring planned for re-introduction to the wild. Since 2001-2002, the movement of approximately 15 rhinos has been reported across the boundary of VTR.
"Two female rhinos died due to train accidents between 2006 and 2013 on the Bagaha-Chhitauni railway line which passes through the Madanpur forest range and because of this their population could not flourish", said the Bihar Chief Wildlife Warden.
The VTR occupies a core area of 909.86 sq km of the Valmiki Sanctuary located in the West Champaran district of Bihar. The VTR was established as the 18th tiger reserve in 1990 and ranked fourth in the density of the tiger population. The Rivers Gandak and Masan flow through this area.