Two orphaned rhinos from Kaziranga to be released in Manas

March 10th, 2012 - 10:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, March 10 (IANS) Two orphaned one-horned rhinos in Assam’s Kaziranga National Park will be released in the Manas National Park by officials of the state forest department and the International Fund for Animal Welfare-Wildlife Trust of India (IFAW-WTI) Sunday, officials said.

The rhinos were being shifted from Kaziranga National Park in upper Assam to Manas National Park located in eastern Assam Saturday night under tight security, crossing a distance of over 450 km.

The two, named Maju and Raja, were under care of the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) in Bokakhat, where they were hand-raised by experienced veterinarians and animal keepers for more than three years.

While Maju was orphaned in an unfortunate incident in February 2009, when his mother charged at a team of researchers and had to be killed by forest guards protecting them, Raja was found alone in January 2008, dehydrated and weak, with the whereabouts of his mother unknown.

Both the incidents occurred in Kaziranga National Park - a world heritage site that hosts over 70 percent of the world’s greater one-horned rhino population.

“Now between three and four years of age, the two healthy males were captured in KNP on Saturday and are likely to be released in Manas National Park tomorrow (Sunday),” said Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Suresh Chand.

“Some of the most interesting and pioneering conservation and welfare initiatives have taken wing in Assam. The rehabilitation of rescued animals in the wild and repopulation is one of those. It combines individual animal welfare and conservation and proves that every individual matters,” he said.

The one-horned rhinos are being reintroduced in Manas National Park through translocation from Pobitara Wildlife Sanctuary and Kaziranga National Park as well as through such rehabilitation of rescued rhinos from CWRC, he said.

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