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SOS Rhino : In the News : Rhino ready to make Manas home

Rhino ready to make Manas home

The Telegraph
Calcutta, India

Guwahati, Feb. 12: Preparations are complete for translocating a four-year-old rhinoceros that was swept away by floods in Kaziranga National Park in 2001 and rescued later. The rhino will be relocated to Manas National Park.

This is the first-ever rhino translocation programme in Assam under the rhino reintroduction programme of the state government.

Electric fences are being erected at Kuribeel in Manas, which will be the new home of the rhino.

Officials said the animal would be transported in a truck from the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) in Kaziranga, where it is now being kept, to Manas on February 20. The animal will reach Manas the next day.

The rhino will be kept at the Kuribeel rhino reintroduction site in the Bansbari range of Manas National Park. The site covers an area of 10 hectares, with electric fences on its boundary.

“This is a very important development in the conservation history of Assam, particularly for Manas,” an official said.

The rhino was rescued from Harmoti in Bagori range of Kaziranga National Park on July 28, 2001, and was treated at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) in Kaziranga. CWRC is a joint initiative of the Wildlife Trust of India and the Assam forest department, which is supported by the International Fund for Animal Welfare. It rescues and rehabilitates wild animals of the region.

A radio collar has been fitted to the rhino’s neck. The animal will be kept in a special crate inside the truck.

“The situation in Manas National Park has improved considerably and the rhino’s future looks good,” said Rathin Barman, a senior official of the Wildlife Trust of India.

Bhupen Sharma and Bijoy Dutta of the College of Veterinary Sciences, Guwahati, performed a final health check-up on January 25 in the presence of Kaziranga National Park director and CWRC project leader N.K. Vasu.

The animal was tranquillised by this team and kept under anaesthesia for about 30 minutes to collect blood samples for screening it for diseases and attaching the radio collar.

The IUCN/Unesco mission of February 2005 noted that conservation action has begun at the ground level after the Bodo Accord was signed and the Bodoland Territorial Council formed.

“Action has recently begun in rebuilding guard posts and infrastructure in the park. The mission inspected an ecotourism initiative being developed by Bodo villagers of Kokilabari on the eastern fringe of the Manas World Heritage property. This is a positive initiative that aims to involve villagers in park management and curb poaching,” it said.

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