SOS Rhino Specials
Rhino Species
Rhino FAQ

Other News ::

Current Rhino News
Archived News
Press Releases

SOS Rhino : In the News : Good news on the rhino front now

Good news on the rhino front now


Posted online: Monday, February 06, 2006 at 0212 hours IST

The Indian Express

KOLKATA, FEBRUARY 5: Even as the results of the tiger census are eagerly awaited, there is cause for cheer on another front — the one-horned rhinoceros population in West Bengal has gone up many notches.

Being touted as a success story of Bengal’s forest management, this development is a welcome departure from the days when the rhino population in Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary came down to as low as 12 and to six in Gorumara National Park.

While Jaldapara now boasts of a thriving population of 100 rhinos as compared to the 14 it had in 1986, there are 25 rhinos in Gorumara, which is again a sharp rise from the eight that roamed its greens two decades ago.

However, in spite of the healthy count, there is still a point of serious concern. Forest experts feared that the years of inbreeding among the members of the small and isolated rhino community could spell doom for the entire population.

‘‘A certain amount of genetic variation is desirable for the survival of the population. Unless there is variability in the genetic make-up, it is possible that a single genetic disorder could wipe out the entire population in the area,’’ explained A K Raha, Chief Conservator, Forests.

‘‘Though studies confirmed that no such genetic depression had set in among the rhinos in Gorumara and Jaldapara, we still brought in two male rhinos from Assam, one each for Jaldapara and Gorumara,’’ said M K Nandy, Former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests.

But the duo reportedly could not adapt to the wilderness. Eventually, the one at Jaldapara, named Madhu, was killed by other males in the territory. After that, the one at Gorumara, named Ratul, was transferred to the Alipore Zoo.

Senior forest officials said there are talks of creating a third rhino habitat at Buxa. ‘‘We are thinking of bringing in a female partner for Ratul and then releasing them at Buxa which does not have a rhino population of its own,’’ said Raha.

V K Yadav, State Deputy Chief Wildlife Warden, added that there were plans to bring about a shuffle among the rhinos in Gorumara and Jaldapara for cross-breeding.

Meanwhile, there is an adverse fallout of an ever-increasing rhino population as it threatens to exceed the capacity of the habitat. ‘‘While Jaldapara has a carrying capacity of 100 rhinos, Gorumara’s is 30. This highlights the need for efficient forest management policies, so that the ecological balance is not disturbed,’’ said Nandy.

Privacy Policy