WB: Rhinos stray out of forest

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Jalpaiguri (West Bengal), Sep 23: A rhino and its calf moved out of Gorumara National Park in West Bengal's Jalpaiguri District and entered a nearby village, frightening hapless villagers.

Foresters have pressed into service two trained elephants to steer the rhino back to the national park.

"Our guards have combed the area and located the rhinos. We have pressed into service two trained elephants to move the elephants back. We are trying our best to make them return to their habitat," said Tapas Das, District Forest Officer (wildlife).

The village Lalbasti, located along the India-Bhutan border happens to be the last human habitation on the Indian side. The rhinos crossed two other sanctuaries to enter the village.

The rhinos would have left their habitat on September 19 and traveled about 15-20 km northward to reach the village.

After not letting the rhinos cross into the Bhutanese territory, the forest guards in Lalbasti village are now making every efforts to bring the animal back to Gorumara.

Services of elephants, Surya and Kalabati, trained to drive back animals into their habitat are being fully utilized to accomplish the task.

Forty officials of the state department form part of the entire operation. Forest officials maintained a tight vigil throughout the night to protect the villagers.

Das also informed that the mother and the calf, aged ten years and five years, moved up along the river Diana, crossing other wildlife sanctuaries and taking shelter in a paddy field in Lalbasti village.


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