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Rescued elephants seen with wild herd in India's Manas National Park

22/08/2012 14:41:59 world/Asia/Asia_july_10/WTI-elephants Rehabilitated elephants thriving in the wild

August 2012. Two orphaned wild elephant calves that underwent rehabilitation through the Assam Forest Department and IFAW-WTI run Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) have been seen 'socialising' with a wild herd in Manas National Park recently.

"This is the third direct evidence of the rehabilitated elephants with wild herds this year," said Dr Bhaskar Chaudhury, Regional Head - Northeast, WTI, who leads the project. "This is a good sign and sure-shot evidence that orphaned wild elephant calves that end up in human care can be successfully returned to the wild. They deserve to live a free life in the wild as did their mothers."

The two, named Tinku and Soni, by the keepers who foster-parented the orphaned calves, are among the five that were moved from CWRC to Manas NP, as part of the Elephant Reintegration Project, last January. Soon after the move, one named Hamren returned to the wild, while the other four remained in the boma in Manas, continuing to be taken for walks by the keepers for acclimatisation to the release site. Another calf rescued from Goalpara was soon added to the group of four in the boma. Eventually, the other calves also detached from the keepers and returned to the wild.

Living with a wild herd
"We saw the two calves with radio collars with a herd of wild elephants on June 22, at 10:30 am about 3 kilometres south of Doimari beat area," said Gopinath Sharma, Beat Officer of Doimari Beat. The calves were reportedly foraging with the wild herd at a distance of less than 10 metres.

Sarma, who was also present during the previous sighting of Soni interacting with a wild herd comprising of three individuals in Chandmari area under Bhuyapara range on February 21 this year, was leading his frontline team while patrolling the area. The other sighting was of Hamren in March this year in Bhuyapara range of the park.

"Such socialisations are critical for the long-term survival of the rehabilitated calves in the released environment. These indicate that they are at home in the wild," added Dr Choudhury.

More about the Wildlife Trust of India 

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