By Peter Alex Todd
Golpara/Morigaon (Assam), April 16 : Two male Rhinos have been translocated recently to Manas National Park in Assam as part of the government initiative conservation of animals.
The translocation was done under the Indian Rhino Vision 2020 programme of the Assam government. It was started in collaboration with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) India and supported by International Rhino Foundation and the U.S Fish and Wild Life Service.
The rhinos, which previously belonged to Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, have been released in the Bansberia range of Manas Park. Forest officials are keeping a close watch on their activities.
Officials say that translocation was part of the government project for rhinos.
"Under this project (India Rhino Vision 2020), we wanted to reintroduce Rhinos in some places where Rhinos existed earlier. Now we have Rhinos in Kaziranga, Pobitora (wildlife sanctuary) and Orang (National Park) also," said Mohan Chandra Malakar, the Chief Conservator of Forests (Wild Life) in Assam.
"The number (of rhinos) in Kaziranga is high and Pobitora density is also high. So we are planning to shift some rhinos from there, from two places--Pobitora and Kaziranga to Manas," he added.
Manas National Park, in Bhutan foothills, and Dibru-Lawkhua national park of Assam are examples from where Rhino had totally vanished because of poaching.
"Translocating two rhinos is a real-real big conservation initiative that will show its result only in future. It's not just some rhinos being taken from one place and put into other places, it is talking about rhino conservation over a very large part of the State," said Sujoy Banarjee, Director Species Conservation, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) India.
As part of the Indian Rhino Vision 2020 programme, at least 30 to 40 Rhinos are to be translocated to Manas National Park from Kaziranga.
The initiative aims to achieve a targeted population of 3,000 wild rhinos in seven protected areas of Assam by 2020.
Spread over thirty-eight square kilometers of area, Pobitora is overpopulated with a population of 81 rhinos. But in Manas and Dibru-Saikhowa National Park, the rhinos have totally vanished for various reasons.
The wildlife authorities have now started rehabilitating rhinos in these areas.
Destruction of natural habitat and poaching are the biggest threats to one-horn rhinos' existence, as rhinos are high in demand and fetch thousands of dollars in the international market.
Experts believe that the rhinos' horns, which are believed to have aphrodisiac properties, are smuggled to China and also sold in other Asian markets.
Manas National Park is situated on the foothills of Himalayas and a part of it extends to Bhutan. It was declared a sanctuary on October 01, 1928 and was designated a World Heritage site in December 1985.
The park is home to a variety of wildlife, including tiger, Golden Langur, Wild Buffalo, Hispid Hare, Pigmy Hog, Capped Langur, Indian one-horned Rhinoceros, Elephant, Gaur, Hog Deer, and other animals.
The scenic beauty and the rare wealth of wild life combine with this unique world heritage site.