- Date: March 26, 2013
- Author: Alison Bryant
Two translocated rhinos gave birth in the Manas National Park in India, indicating that the translocated species is breeding successfully and adapting to the new environment. The arrival of the calves comes as a welcomed affair amid a recent spurt in the poaching of rhinos in the northeast Indian state of Assam.
WWF-India researchers and Assam Forest Department staff spotted Rhino 17, translocated to the park in 2012, and Rhino 8, translocated to the park in 2011, walking with their newborns March 23 and March 25, respectively. The mating and subsequent pregnancy of Rhino 8 happened in Manas, researchers and staff involved in the post-release monitoring of the rhinos said.
This further proves that translocation—a conservation tool to boost species numbers by establishing viable populations spread out in more than one area—works. The two rhinos were translocated under the protection of the Indian Rhino Vision 2020 program, a joint initiative of WWF-India; the Department of Environment and Forests, Government of Assam; the International Rhino Foundation; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Bodoland Territorial Council and local organizations. Eighteen rhinos—10 from the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary and eight from the Kaziranga National Park—have been translocated to Manas National Park so far.
Under IRV 2020, Manas National Park benefitted from new support to upgrade its infrastructure and monitoring capabilities to enable better protection for the translocated rhinos. We must ensure the safety of the newborn calves and their mothers, along with other rhinos in the park, to establish a viable rhino population over the long term.
WWF and IRF look forward to the prospect of partnering with the Assam Forest Department to return rhinos toe the Loakhowa-Burachapori complex in Assam in the coming years, a site from where the species was poached out in the 1980s.
High demand for rhino horn in the illegal wildlife trade persists as the biggest threat to this newly established rhino population; three translocated rhinos have fallen prey to poachers in the past two years. WWF and IRF, as constituents and partners of the IRV 2020 program, continue to support the Assam Forest Department in its endeavor to provide a safe and secure future for Assam’s rhinos spread across different Protected Areas.
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