A giant leap for Rhino Conservation | WWF India

A giant leap for Rhino Conservation

4 rhinos translocated to another range in the Dudhwa National Park, Uttar Pradesh

In April 2018, Dudhwa National Park in Uttar Pradesh witnessed four rhino translocations with the aim of expanding their range of these animals within the park. This re-introduction of the greater one-horned rhinos from one range to another took place after 34 years.

After several months of monitoring and patrolling in the area, over 200 government officials, field workers, vets, rhino experts and 10 captive elephants from the UP Forest Department, Assam Forest Department, WWF-India and Wildlife Trust of India, displayed exemplary courage and successfully translocated 4 sub adult rhinos - namely Napoleon, New 5, New 8 and Subhadra – each weighing between 1800 – 2200 kg - from Kakraha in South Sonaripur to Bhadi within the Belrayan range in the park.

More rhinos in Dudhwa will mean more species of mammals, birds, insects, fish and plants in the Terai region of India - also known as the country’s ‘food basket’. This is because these wonderful animals keep the areas trimmed when they browse, making paths and more accessible areas for smaller mammals. They also enrich the soil and help plants by spreading seed through their dung! 

The following photographs capture some of the moments in this historic translocation process.

The locator team moved out in Kakraha (Rhino Ranging Area) at the break of dawn to capture the rhino individuals for translocation.

Another team, including veterinarians, mahouts and government officials joined the locator team to locate and dart the rhino with a tranquiliser.

Once sedated, a health check and body condition monitoring was undertaken and blood samples were collected by the veterinarians.

The veterinarians also ear notched the rhinos as per the existing internationally accepted standards for easy identification later.

A small pit dug beside the sedated individual allowed the sedated rhino to be pulled towards the crate using the sledge and loaded on the truck for translocation.

Revival medicines were administered by the veterinarians, once the rhino was secured inside the crate. With the help of a crane, the crate was moved onto a truck to be transported to the release site.

The transport of the rhino was done through a pre-determined route.

The release site in Belrayan range was prepared in advance where a release ramp was created. Field staff positioned on elephants monitored the movement and behavior of the rhino post-release.

The four rhinos are being monitored continuously by the staff of Dudhwa National Park, UP Forest Department with support from partners.

(WWF-India has been supported in this effort by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the WWF network.)

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