Population boost to Manas’ rhinos

Posted on
13 March 2012
World Heritage Site receives four more wild rhinos under IRV 2020

Efforts to increase the one horned rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis) population in Manas National Park, Assam received a major boost as an additional four wild rhinos were translocated to the park from Kaziranga National Park on 12 March 2012. The rhinos, 2 males and 2 females were released in the Bura-buri area of Basbari Range of Manas after an overnight journey of 12 hours from Kaziranga’s Bagori Range, with protection from the Assam Police and under observation of a team of experienced vets comprising Dr. Kushal Sharma, Dr. Bijoy Dutta, Dr. Anjan Talukdar and Dr. Prabhat Basumatary. Members of WWF-India and Assam Forest Department officials accompanied the convoy and the entire operation was done under the able supervision of Mr. V.K.Vishnoi IFS, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF), Assam; Mr. S. Chand IFS, PCCF-Wildlife and Chief Wildlife Warden; and Mr. S.P.Singh, CCF and Chief Operations Officer, Translocation Core Committee.

The Field Director of the Park Mr. A. Swargoyari IFS led the team releasing the rhinos which will be observed closely over the next few days. Fitted with radio-collars, these rhinos will be continuously monitored for the next two years by staff of Manas National Park supported by a team from WWF-India.

The IRV 2020 is a joint programme that aims at the long term conservation of the species through range expansion of one horned rhino through wild to wild translocations within Assam as well as protection of the species in its current range. Over the past few years, IRV 2020 has helped a great deal in the revival of Manas National Park by supporting the development of its infrastructure, strengthening the staff’s capacity apart from working to generate community support for the park. The surrounding communities who are working in the eco-tourism have directly benefited from the increased rhinos as these animals are helping attract tourists from around the world.

The IRV 2020 is a joint programme of the Assam Forest Department, International Rhino Foundation (IRF) and WWF and has a vision to attain a rhino population of 3000 wild rhinos in Assam, spread over seven of its protected areas (PAs) by the year 2020. Among IRV’s partners are US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS)and Bodoland Territorial Council.

When the IRV 2020 was initiated, Manas National Park was devoid of its rhino population due to militancy. Since 2008, 10 rhinos have been translocated to the park from Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary with support from various stakeholders including Veterinary Science College and local NGOs. With this release, there are now a total of 22 rhinos in Manas, including some released under a rehabilitated program. The dedicated field staff of the three PAs – Manas; Kaziranga; and Pobitora; as well as the surrounding communities need special mention for their support to these conservation efforts.


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