Four Kaziranga rhinos to be released in Manas

February 19th, 2012 - 11:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, Feb 19 (IANS) Indian Rhino Vision (IRV) officials Sunday started the process of trans-locating four one-horned rhinos from Assam’s Kaziranga National Park (KNP) to the state’s Manas National Park (MNP).

The IRV 2020 is a joint programme of Assam forest department, World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) and International Rhino Foundation (IRF) with the goal of attaining a population of 3,000 wild rhinos in seven protected areas of Assam by 2020.

Four rhinos were captured from the park on Sunday following the standard protocols set for the programme, informed sources said while adding that while two of the rhinos are about ten years old, the rest two are about three years old.

The four rhinos are being shifted to Manas National Park under tight security and are likely to be released there on Monday, the sources said, adding that all the captured rhinos are fitted with radio collars for regular monitoring after their release.

The programme of rhino trans-location was first designed in 2005 and the the IRV trans-located the first batch of rhinos in 2008 in Assam. Since 2008, a total of ten rhinos have been trans-located to Manas National Park from Pobitora Wildlife sanctuary.

The IRV 2020 programme aims at securing the long term survival of wild one-horned rhinos in Assam by expanding their distribution to all the protected areas.

There are 2,048 rhinos in Kaziranga as per the last rhino census conducted in the park in 2009. But poaching incidents are increasing - while five rhinos were hunted in the park last year, two have already been killed so far in January.

Apart from Kaziranga, one-horned rhinos are found in the Pobitara wildlife sanctuary, Orang National Park and Manas National Park, (all in Assam), Dudhwa National Park (Uttar Pradesh) and in some places in Nepal.

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