Three rhino calves, rescued from Kaziranga floods, taken to Manas Park
Kaziranga National Park, Guwahati: Three female rhino calves, which were rescued from the destructive monsoon floods that hit the Kaziranga National Park in 2016, have been relocated to the Manas National Park for rehabilitation in the wild.
The three calves have been shifted to the Manas Park and, after a period of proper monitoring will be released in the wild, says Rohini Ballav Saikia, Kaziranga National Park’s Divisional Forest Officer.
“The translocation of the rhinos would add to existing gene pool of the Manas National Park and open up more avenues for research in terms of behavior of the calves in a new landscape,” he added.
The three rhinoceros calves were rescued from the floodwaters in the Haldibari, Deopani, and Sildubi areas, which are adjacent to the Kaziranga National Park. This was the result of the efforts of the local people, Assam’s Forest Department, as well as the CWRC’s Mobile Veterinary Service (MVS) unit in July 2016. The three calves have been relocated after final health checks by veterinarians. A convoy of the three vehicles, along with the forest department officials, executed the transfer spanning a 370-kilometre road journey from the the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) to the Manas National Park.
The three calves were hand-raised at the CWRC, the wildlife rescue, care, as well as rehabilitation facility that is jointly run by the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the Assam Forest Department.
“It’s a matter of pleasure for us at the CWRC that, with whole-hearted support of Assam Forest Department and wildlife lovers and well-wishers, we’ve been able to hand-raise the rescued calves. We are on the verge of releasing them back into the wild in the Manas National Park, in keeping with our rhino rehabilitation protocol,’ said CWRC’s lead veterinarian Dr Panjit Basumatary. His team had been instrumental in caring for the three calves right from the moment they were brought to the rehabilitation center.
The operation was carried out under the watchful eyes of senior officials including Justice Ajit Singh, Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court; B Brahma, Assam’s Principal Chief Conservator of Forests & Head of Forest Force; and HK Sarma, Field Director of the Manas National Park.
‘The rhino translocation has been successful, and the calves are none the worse for wear following the long journey,’ said Bhaskar Choudhury, WTI’s Head Veterinarian (North East) and Head of the IFAW-WTI Greater Manas Conservation Project.
“They would be carefully monitored for a period and once we are certain they are properly acclimatized, released in the wild. They will be the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth rhino rehabilitated into the Manas National Park, marking another significant milestone in our efforts to restore the national park to its former glory.”
Wildlife agencies such as the WTI have been working in concert with Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) as well as the Assam Forest Department since the year 2003 to ‘Bring Back Manas,’ which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site whose flora as well as fauna were ravaged due to militancy in the late 1980s and 1990s. The rehabilitation of the three rhinos in Manas is part of the long-term project and it has seen success. As many as 6 calves having been born in the wild to rehabilitated rhinos so far.
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