Determined to rekindle the once-thriving rhino population, the Bihar government has unveiled a groundbreaking ‘Rhino Task Force’ for the Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR) in West Champaran district. This strategic move, driven by the resurgence in tiger numbers and a renewed conservation spirit, seeks to restore the presence of the magnificent rhinoceros within the reserve’s wilderness.
The Valmiki Tiger Reserve, renowned for its vibrant biodiversity and standing as the 18th tiger reserve since 1990, has emerged as a beacon of successful tiger conservation, witnessing a remarkable 75% surge in its tiger count from 31 in 2018 to a formidable 54 in 2022. This resounding achievement has emboldened the Bihar government to take decisive steps towards preserving not only the tiger population but also breathing life back into the realm of rhino conservation.
Observing the thriving tiger population in VTR, the state’s wildlife authorities have seized the opportunity to chart a new course for rhino revival. Currently, the reserve boasts a solitary rhino, while the Patna Zoo shelters 14. With the establishment of the visionary ‘Rhino Task Force’, authorities are steadfast in their mission to orchestrate a resurgence of the rhino populace within the reserve’s protective embrace.
At the heart of this ambitious endeavor lies the National Rhino Conservation Scheme, which designates the Valmiki Tiger Reserve as a potential sanctuary for rhinos from various corners of the nation. A dedicated committee, commissioned two years ago, meticulously assessed habitat conditions and security parameters within VTR, culminating in recommendations that serve as the bedrock for this conservation drive.
With the committee’s recent submission of a comprehensive report, the Bihar government has moved decisively to constitute the ‘Rhino Task Force’. This specialized unit, armed with a holistic approach, is entrusted with devising and implementing strategies to reintroduce rhinos successfully. The primary objective is to amplify the rhino-bearing areas within VTR by 5% over the upcoming two years, thus creating an environment conducive to their breeding and flourishing.
India, a global custodian of the one-horned rhinoceros, harbors a substantial 75% of the world’s rhino population, with the majority residing within its borders. The emblematic Kaziranga National Park in Assam safeguards more than 93% of India’s rhino populace, underlining the nation’s unwavering commitment to wildlife preservation.
The Valmiki Tiger Reserve, sprawling across 909.86 sq.km in the West Champaran district, has etched its name as a sanctuary of ecological vitality. This distinctive reserve, ranked fourth in tiger population density, stands as a testament to the harmonious coexistence of diverse species, a legacy to be nurtured and expanded through the endeavors of the ‘Rhino Task Force’.
As the ‘Rhino Task Force’ embarks on this formidable conservation journey, inspired by the triumphs of tiger resurgence, the echoes of a rejuvenated Valmiki Tiger Reserve promise not only a vibrant habitat for rhinos but also a radiant future for biodiversity conservation in Bihar.