Guwahati, Feb 22 (IANS) In a bid to keep the world famous one-horned rhinoceros of Assam under the global spotlight, the Assam government has decided to commemorate September 22 as “Rhino Day”, an official said on Thursday.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal mooted the idea here at the 10th meeting of the State Board for Wildlife and said that a day exclusively dedicated to the approximately 2,500 rhino population in the state would be a tribute to the rhinoceros, which are the “pride of Assam”.
He also said that a State Rhino Project, in line with the National Rhino Project, will also be launched in the state for the protection and conservation of rhinos. He also asked the wildlife board to raise a quick response team to rush to the location of animal deaths caused unnaturally.
Taking a grim view of the deaths of tuskers caused in railway accidents recently, the Chief Minister asked the Board to initiate a survey of elephant corridors in the state with the help of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
“Identifying and mapping the elephant corridors throughout the state and taking remedial steps would greatly help in preventing accident-related deaths of elephants,” he said.
Sonowal said that once the elephant corridor mapping is completed, he would hold a meeting with the Railway Ministry to take remedial steps like creating tunnels or overpass for the elephants.
Discussions were also held on setting up an exclusive Institute of Wildlife Health and Research to study the diseases of wild animals and suggest an appropriate treatment mechanism.
Sonowal asked the Board to prepare a proposal and assured that the government would make serious efforts to set up the same in the state. A Special Battalion for the Manas National Park would also be raised for the protection of wild animals there.
He also stressed on measures like butterfly parks, integrated watch towers in different reserve forests, wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, especially for tourism and surveillance, and asked the Board members to convene frequent meetings on the welfare of the wildlife of the state.