The Manas National Park in Assam on Monday received four rhinos, in the first translocation from Kaziranga, which has the largest population of one-horned rhinos in the world.
Three females and a male — translocated under the Indian Rhino Vision 2020 programme — were released in Manas around 7 a.m. “They are doing fine,” P.K. Brahma, Range Officer, Manas National Park told The Hindu. The total number of rhinos it has received has now gone up to 16, including 14 translocated ones.
In 2007, this World Heritage Site received two rhinos, when the orphaned mammals, rescued and reared at the Kaziranga-based Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, were released here.
The first translocation from wild to wild in the State took place in 2008 when two male rhinos of central Assam's Pabitora Wildlife Sanctuary were captured and later released in Manas. They have been radio-collared for tracking their movements with telemetry equipment.
IRV-2020 is aimed at increasing the rhino population of the State to 3,000 by 2020. The programme, implemented by the Assam Forest Department with the support of the World Wildlife Fund and the International Rhino Foundation, will ensure that the animals are distributed over at least seven protected areas of the State so that in the event of any epidemic afflicting the entire population in Kaziranga and Pabitora, the one-horned rhinos in other protected areas can be conserved. Pabitora has the highest density of rhinos in the world.
The rhino population of Manas is believed to have been wiped out in poaching when insurgency was at its peak in the Bodo heartland in the 1980s and early 1990s. Altogether 20 rhinos — 10 each from Pabitora and Kaziranga — were to be translocated to Manas under IRV-2020. From Pabitora, 10 animals have already been shifted there.
In 2006, Assam accounted for 2,034 rhinos with 1,885 in Kaziranga, 81 in Pabitora and 68 in the Orang National Park. According to a 2009 estimate, there are 2,201 of them, including 2,048 in Kaziranga.