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Ups and downs of an eventful decade of rhino conservation in India’s Manas National Park.

After India went into a nationwide lockdown in March 2020, Forest Department staff continued their patrolling and monitoring of wildlife habitats despite challenges ranging from restrictions on their movements to shortages of essential supplies. It’s tough but essential work and in Manas National Park in Assam a monitoring team recently had a rewarding sight — a Greater One-Horned rhino calf. It was the third new addition this year providing much-needed hope and optimism at this tragic time.It was a very different story in the early eighties and nineties. Manas National Park was impacted by local conflicts from the late 1980s until early 2000s. During this period, the park’s previously thriving population of 85 to 100 rhinos was wiped out. With rhinos playing a critical role in maintaining the health of habitats in the park, the government of Assam decided to reintroduce rhinos in 2005 as part of an ambitious programme: the Indian Rhino Vision 2020 (IRV2020).I was there at the start a…