‘Kaziranga National Park’, as soon as these three words are heard, people start visualizing the picture of the Great One Horned Rhinoceros. This imagination is very valid, as Kaziranga is the only place where you can find the Indian Rhinos swaggering. The relation of One Horned Rhinoceros and Kaziranga is not a new phenomenon, rather it has been more than a century; it has been 108 years that the two are associated with each other.
Flipping the pages of history
The conservation of the large mammal in Kaziranga started in the early 90s. It was 1904, when Baroness Mary Victoria Leiter Curzon, wife of Lord Curzon (the Viceroy of India during that time) visited Kaziranga. The pathetic state of the place made her worried, and she asked her husband to take some concrete steps for the conservation of the wild beings, especially the One Horned Rhinos in Kaziranga area. Thus, finally in June 1905, the Viceroy declared the place as a ‘Forest Reserve’.
The journey then started, never stopped. Later in 1916, it got the title of a game sanctuary. Irrespective of the fact that by 1926 shooting was banned in the sanctuary, cases of massive hunting of the rhinos were being recorded. Therefore in 1950 Kaziranga was crowned as a ‘Wildlife Sanctuary’. All this was done with the sole motive of conserving the large mammal, the One Horned Rhinos.
The First National Park of Assam
24 years down the line in 1974, Kaziranga was declared as a ‘National Park’. It was the first national park established in the state of Assam.
Making it to the UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites
Making a place in the coveted list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites is certainly not as easy as falling off a log. UNESCO has 10 very stringent criteria on the basis of which it selects a particular site to be included in its list. It is mandatory to stand clear on any of the one criterion out of the 10.
In 1985, (within 9 years after being declared as a national park), Kaziranga stood among the World Heritage Sites of UNESCO on the basis of two criteria, ix and x:
ix. To be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals.
x. To contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.
The Conservation Efforts
The Kaziranga National Park cossets one of the most beautiful and exotic fauna species, known as the One Horned Rhinoceros. Their protection is the first aim of the park authorities. The rhinos are being poached, because their body parts are sold at a very high price in the black market of wildlife. There is a myth that the horn of the rhino possesses various medicinal properties and thus, people galore can pay anything to get it. Similarly, there are many aristocrats who are ready to pay any price for getting a rhino’s skin. Considering this threat to the respective species, the authorities working for wildlife conservation took various actions. Some of them are mentioned below:
• Stringent patrolling via armed forest rangers.
• Charging high penalty on the poachers.
• The introduction of ‘Drone, the unmanned aircraft’, for keeping an eye on the poachers.
In a Nutshell
All this makes it clear that right from the journey of being next to nothing, to a reserve forest, to a national park and finally to a World Heritage Site, Kaziranga was honored because of the presence of this Great One Horned Rhinoceros. In return the respective area provided this large mammal a fine and widespread space as a habitat, wherein it can live and prosper.
About the Author – Anshul Srivastava is a wildlife enthusiast and travelogue. He has traveled so many popular Indian wildlife destinations. He loves to explore Indian wildlife, culture and tradition. Follow him on Google+ for more information about him.
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