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| Last Updated:23/01/2020

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Great One-Horned Rhinos may go extinct:UNESCO

                                                                                                                                                  Sakaal Times, Pune, 18th May, 2015

Great One-Horned Rhinos in Assam's Manas Wildlife Sanctuary is faced with threat of extinction within 30 years if the authorities fail to crack down on poaching with all the powers at their disposal, warns a UN body. UNESCO World Heritage Centre says continued reintroduction of rhinos in Manas sanctuary --a UNESCO World Heritage Site-- will not yield result unless poaching is eradicated.

It has also asked the government to increase the number of frontline staff, as proposed under the Tiger Conservation Plan, and to take appropriate actions to improve staff morale and ensure adequate equipment for them to protect the sanctuary from heavily armed poachers and insurgent groups. In its state of conservation reports for sites facing threats, the heritage centre and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) say, "Although poaching persists, there has been a marked improvement in controlling this threat in 2014 with the introduction of SMART patrolling."

"Nevertheless, the report of a Rhino Population Viability Analysis by IUCN Conservation Breeding Specialist Group carried out in 2015 indicates that unless poaching is eradicated, continued reintroduction of rhinos is unlikely to result in a viable population in Manas, and rhino could become locally extinct within 30 years," the UN body said in its report to be presented at the 39th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee to be held from June 28 to July 8 in Bonn, Germany.

Manas Wildlife Sanctuary in the eastern Himalaya foothills of the country, which has been removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2011, is, however, in the list of sites facing threats. The UNESCO World Heritage Centre report also speaks about Swamp Deer reintroduced in Manas and the threat faced by it from poachers. Swamp Deer is categorised as vulnerable in the IUCN Red List.

"...While progress with the reintroduction of Eastern Swamp Deer is welcomed, poaching needs to be brought sufficiently under control to ensure that the captive deer can be safely released into the property," says the report. The state of conservation reports prepared by IUCN jointly with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, monitor the condition of World Heritage sites affected by major conservation issues.