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SOS Rhino : In the News : Relocation of rhino calves makes history in Assam
 

Relocation of rhino calves makes history in Assam

  IANS
Gulfnews.com
http://archive.gulfnews.com/articles/07/01/29/10100270.html
Published 29/01/2007 12:00 AM (UAE) 

Kaziranga, Assam: Two one-horned rhino calves made conservation history yesterday when they were moved from an overcrowded sanctuary in eastern Assam in an attempt to help the endangered beasts multiply in new surroundings.

A wildlife official said the two female rhinos, aged about 42 months, were being caged and shifted in separate trucks from the internationally famed Kaziranga National Park, home to the largest concentration of the one-horned rhinoceros in the world.

"The two baby rhinos would join another five-year-old female at the Manas National Park, 180 kilometres west of Assam's main city of Guwahati, by early today," a park warden said.

The two calves were rescued in 2004 during high floods at Kaziranga and were kept at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Care within the park premises.

The translocation process was being monitored by several agencies including the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), International Fund for Animal Welfare and wildlife authorities from the Assam government.

Journey

"A team of doctors and experts are accompanying the two rhinos on the 11-hour road journey from Kaziranga to Manas," said Manideepa Ahluwalia, a senior WTI official.

In February last year, a 44-month old female rhino was moved from Kaziranga to Manas - the first of the translocation process.

"The rhino is doing fine and is in good health. We are keeping the animal in a one square kilometre enclosure with solar-powered fencing to keep elephants and tigers at bay from attacking the calf," said Abhijit Rabha, a warden at the Manas park.

The 519 square kilometre Manas National Park, also a Project Tiger Reserve, is a World Heritage Site with about half a dozen rhinos surviving at present.

"The three rhinos would eventually be released in the wilds of Manas. By next year we plan to capture a male rhino from Kaziranga and shift it here to help the breeding process," the WTI official said.

As per latest figures, some 1,855 of the world's estimated 2,700 such herbivorous beasts lumber around the wilds of the 430 square kilometre Kaziranga National Park - their numbers ironically making the giant mammals a favourite target for poaching.

Translocation

Experts have identified five national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in Assam where they plan to shift about 30 rhinos from Kaziranga and Pabitora, another overcrowded sanctuary near Guwahati.

"The main objectives of rhino translocation are to establish a viable breeding population in other areas and to safeguard the endangered species from natural calamities," said M.C. Malakar, Assam's chief wildlife warden.




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