Weeds threaten rhino habitat

Updated on Apr 14, 2004 12:33 PM IST

The IFAW and the WTI are working to wipe out a weed that is threatening the survival of one-horned rhinos.

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The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and its partner, the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), are working to wipe out a deadly weed that is threatening the survival of the largest remaining population of the critically endangered greater one-horned rhino.

IFAW has committed $15,000 in Kaziranga National Park, India, to help eradicate the invasive mimosa weed that is choking the grassland habitat of the rhinos.

Responding to an urgent request from the Forest Minister of the north-east Indian state of Assam, IFAW-WTI have already begun work in association with the forest department, physically uprooting the weed before it starts fruiting and spreads its seeds.

Kaziranga National Park, located in the flood plains of the Brahmaputra river, is one of the most important protected areas of the world and home to over 1,500 of the 2,000 surviving greater one-horned rhinos, as well as Asian elephants, tigers, many species of deer and the rare Asiatic wild buffalo.

"The scale of this problem is massive and the areas colonised by these weeds are under great danger. Luckily we are in time to help save these rhino and other wildlife, otherwise the food they need to survive would vanish," said Jo Fielder, IFAW's Emergency Relief vet.

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