India Rhino will soon have DNA Database
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has undertaken a project to create DNA Profiles of all rhinos present in India. The project which would formally be underway by end of 2019 is set to be completed by 2021 (project’s deadline).
About: After the completion of project, Indian rhino could become India’s first wild animal species to have all its members DNA-sequenced. The database so collected will be hosted in Wildlife Institute of India (WII) headquarters in Dehradun.
Project Highlights: The project being undertaken is a subset of India’s larger, already ongoing Rhino Conservation Programme.
Population: In India, there are about 2,600 rhinos and more than 90% of Indian Rhino population is concentrated in Kaziranga National Park, Assam.
Since 1980s, Indian government is trying to move significant number of rhinos out of Kaziranga. The aim behind it is in interest of the species’ conservation, threats they face from poaching and challenges to their current habitat. Some other locations for translocating are in Assam itself like Manas National Park and Pobitara Wildlife Sancutary.
Project Proponents: includes World Wide Fund for Nature-India (WWF-India) and Centre-funded Wildlife Institute of India (WII).
Current Updates: around 60 samples of tissue of rhinos living outside Kaziranga have been collected so far and researchers are also extracting DNA samples from dung.
Importance: DNA Database exercise would be useful to curb killing and poaching and collecting evidence in wildlife crimes involving rhinos.
Rhino Species: There are three species of rhinos, out of which only one species ‘the Indian rhino’ is found in India.