'No will to help mammals'

'No will to help mammals'

Conservation woes

Lack of political will is adding to the survival woes of large Asiatic mammals, including rhinoceros, one of the most intriguing beasts in nature’s life chain that faces extinction in its habitat in South Asia, says conservationist Hemanta Mishra.

“Based on my experience in Nepal, I believe the lack of political will has been responsible for conservation woes not only of rhinos, but also of other large mammals throughout Asia. There is a specific direct link between politics and rhinos,” said Mishra.

The conservationist, honoured with the J Paul Getty Wildlife Award for saving the rhinoceros and tigers in Nepal, his homeland, has co-authored a new book, “The Soul of the Rhino” with Jim Ottway Jr, an American wildlife enthusiast working to save Himalayan fauna.

Mishra said, “It may not be factual to say conservation of rhinoceros in its habitats, including the northeast India, has not been successful. Though their range is limited, the species is holding steadily, particularly in the Kaziranga National Park. However, they are extremely vulnerable to poaching, habitat destruction and encroachments over their ranges,” Mishra said.

The conservationist said apathy by political leaders and decision makers “often retards the process of main-streaming wildlife conservation as a key priority in the development processes. This also means that nature and wildlife conservation is often sidetracked when it comes to budgetary allocation and support for administrative and legal instrument in the fight against wildlife crimes,” Mishra said.

Great Asian one-horned rhiwas found from Pakistan all the way through India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar. But now it is restricted to small habitats in the foothills of the Himalayas, north Bengal and Assam.

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