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Female Rhino Calf Released into Manas National Park, India

13/03/2008 14:36:32
March 2008. A young female Asia Rhino has been released into Manas National Park seven years after its approximately 100-strong population was wiped out by poachers. This is the fourth rhino, a one-and-half-year-old female, which has been released in Manas in the last 2 years.

The four rhinos, all orphaned females rescued by the Wildlife Trust of India(WTI), were hand-raised at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) near the Kaziranga National Park. The first three rhinos were transferred to Manas by WTI & IFAW in 2006. The one and half year old female calf was rescued from a tea garden next to Kaziranga National Park after its mother was shot dead by poachers in September 2007.
 
Dr Anjan Talukdar inspecting the sedated rhino before relocation to Manas. © Wildlife Trust of India.
 
Manas National Park’s last native rhino, a female, was killed by poachers in 2001 after two decades of ethnic strife, which devastated most of the park and killed eight forest officers.

Manas National Park Now Safe
Earlier, the Security Assessment Group of the Indian Rhino Vision 2020, had in its Update Report on Security Assessment in December 2007 said that 80 per cent of the Manas National Park was secure and that it was safe to release the animals there. Indian Rhino Vision 2020 plans to reintroduce 15-20 further rhinos into Manas as part of their plan to rebuild the population of Asian one horned rhinos in India.

Located in India’s north-eastern Assam state, Manas is considered one of world’s richest bio-diversity hotspots, contiguous with the forests of Bhutan of the same name. Home to tigers and elephants it is also a designated Project Tiger reserve. Containing 22 critically endangered species, Manas was declared a World Heritage site by the UNESCO in 1985.

Expansion of Manas National Park
The local council had earlier strongly recommended the formation of Greater Manas, adding an adjacent forest, also called Manas, and the Ripu-Chirang forest, to the current National Park, increasing its size from 300 Kms to some 950 square Kms.

The Council’s declaration followed a study conducted by the Wildlife Trust of India and its partner, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, supported by the British government, which strongly recommended its creation.

‘I am delighted to welcome these rhinos to the Manas. I am sure that this move by WTI-IFAW will be the beginning of the revival of the rhino population in the park. This will be followed by the wild to wild transfer by Indian Rhino Vision 2020 team,’ said A.K. Swargiary, the director of Manas National Park.

Courtesy ofthe Wildlife Trust of India.

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