Three female rhino calves which were rescued during the devastating floods that had hit Kaziranga National Park in 2016, and were subsequently hand-raised at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) for over 18 months, were on Saturday translocated to the Manas National Park, taking the total number of rhinos there to 35.
The three calves were rescued from floodwaters by forest staff and CWRC’s Mobile Veterinary Service (MVS) unit from the Haldhibari, Deopani and Sildubi areas adjoining the Kaziranga National Park with the help of local villagers, and hand-raised in the CWRC at Kaziranga. The three rhino calves traveled about 335 km from Kaziranga to Manas through Friday night.
“While the three were on Saturday shifted to a pre-release boma in Manas, they will be released to the wild after a period of careful monitoring,” CWRC’s lead veterinarian Panjit Basumatary said. “It is a matter of great pleasure for us at CWRC that with the support of the state forest department and countless wildlife lovers and well-wishers, we have been able to hand-raise these rescued calves. Now we are on the verge of releasing them back to the wild in Manas, following our established rhino rehabilitation protocol,” he said.
“The translocation of this rhinos will add to the existing gene pole of Manas national park and will also open up more avenues for research in terms of behaviour of these calves in the new landscape,” Rohini B Saikia, Divisional Forest Officer of Kaziranga National Park said. All three rhinos are in good health and have been ear-tagged for easy identification following their release. The CWRC’s wildlife rescue, care and rehabilitation facility in Kaziranga is jointly run by Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the Assam Forest department
With the arrival of the three calves, Manas National Park – tagged as a World Heritage Site by Unesco – now has 35 rhinos. While 13 rhinos have been so far shifted to Manas from the CWRC in Kaziranga, 18 others were translocated wild-to-wild from Kaziranga National Park and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary in the past few years. Though four of the CWRC rhinos had died of natural reasons and 10 of the wild-to-wild rhinos were killed by poachers, as many as 14 were born in Manas, the last birth taking place in November 2017.