Jorhat, Feb. 10: The translocation of rhinos from Kaziranga National Park to Manas National Park will start from February 19, with at least 10 animals to be shifted in the first phase.
The director of Kaziranga, Surajeet Dutta, said this would be the first time that rhinos would be shifted from Kaziranga.
“There are plans to shift at least 10 rhinos from Kaziranga to Manas but it would depend on how many rhinos we manage to capture. It’s a Herculean task to translocate rhinos,” he said.
At present, Manas has 13 rhinos, of which 10 were translocated from Pobitora sanctuary and three from the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation near Kaziranga.
While the three rhinos from the centre were shifted to Manas in 2006, the process to shift rhinos from Pobitora to Manas started in 2008.
The 16 square km Pobitora wildlife sanctuary is overpopulated with over 80 rhinos.
The decision to shift rhinos from the sanctuary was taken under the Indian Rhino Vision 2020, which aims at having a population of nearly 3,000 wild rhinos in the protected areas of Assam by 2020.
Manas, a World Heritage Site, once had a healthy rhino population but was affected badly during the Bodo movement in the 1990s.
Another Kaziranga official said efforts would be made to translocate the rhinos, which stray out of the park frequently.
“At least three rhinos had strayed out of the park recently and are grazing in different locations far away from the park. Our aim would be to shift these straying rhinos to Manas,” he said.
Straying rhinos have become a major headache for Kaziranga authorities recently as these animals have to be kept under constant watch, being easy target for poachers.
The park has over 2,000 rhinos.
An official of the Wildlife Trust of India, which runs the wildlife centre, said two more rhinos from the centre would be shifted to Manas shortly.
The centre has seven rhinos calves which were rescued from various parts of the state.
He said the rhinos from the centre would be first kept within large enclosures built at Manas so that the animals could get acclimatised before being released.
“The calves are hand-raised at the centre and it takes time for the animals to regain their wild nature. The six rhinos, released in 2006 have turned wild now,” he said.