DEHRADUN: Uttarakhand government has decided to re-introduce Rhinoceros in Corbett Tiger Reserve to increase the diversity of fauna in both the protected areas of the hill state.
The decision was taken in a meeting of Uttarakhand State Wildlife Board on Tuesday chaired by chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat.
Jairaj, principal chief conservator of forest and head of forest force, Uttarakhand state said, "The re-introduction of rhinos was decided to keep in mind to add another dimension of diversity in Uttarakhand forests. We have an abundance of tigers, elephants and many other majestic wildlife. Addition of rhino will be a move which will help bring ecological diversity as well as attract eco-tourism more than ever."
Vinod Rishi, wildlife management expert who has been involved in re-introduction of rhinos in Dudhwa National Park in Uttar Pradesh in 1984, commenting on the issue said, "The re-introduction of rhinos is a good idea but the whole project should be dealt with utmost expertise and sensitivity. The local populace must be taken into confidence along with confirming that habitat has enough moisture and a big area for the rhino to roam, breed and survive."
Sources in the government told TNIE that the plans are to be implemented at a fast pace within three months of time-period.
Interestingly, one-horned rhinos were found in the foothills of Shivalik hills including Corbett area till the 1870s, as many research papers and evidence otherwise suggest.
A study by experts of Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun published in the year 2007 has stated, "Sighting of a male rhino near Kotdwara in this state in 1789 confirms that this rhino occurred here in the past (Rookmaaker 1999). Dhikala and Pa-terpani grasslands in Corbett Tiger Reserve and Surai grasslands in the Terai East Forest Division provide the last opportunity for the reintroduction programme in this state. However, among these three sites, Dhikala grasslands could be considered the priority because of its size, location and protection status."
AG Ansari, Ramnagar based conservationist, the town which is home of the Corbett Tiger Reserve said, "Evidences and researched indicate that we had rhinos living in the area till mid 18th century. I hope the step will be enriching in terms of diversity of fauna as well as flora in the region."
The study by WII also stated that of the eight animals translocated into Dudhwa in 1984 and 1985, seven had survived by December 1986 (1 adult male, 5 females, 1 subadult female).
"With care and planning, the number of animals increased by over 20 in 2006. It is possible to establish such a population in Dhikala grasslands," said the study by WII.
Another important decision included a proposal to declare stray monkeys vermin as people and farmers of the state have been complaining damages by those for a long time now.
Other decisions in the meeting include formation of awareness groups to stop the human-animal conflict, proposals of many ongoing projects of roads, underpass and over bridges in the vicinity of forests along with many others.