| Tarun Gogoi at the zoo on Tuesday. Picture by UB Photos |
Oct. 9: The rhino, which had strayed from Pobitora wildlife sanctuary last week, had a VVIP visitor today.
Chief minister Tarun Gogoi visited the rhino at its enclosure, immediately after returning from New Delhi today.
The female rhino will remain at the zoo for a month till it is fit to go back to the forest.
During its stay at the zoo, the animal will receive the best care and support from the staff. “We trying out whatever is possible,” state zoo veterinarian M.L. Smith told The Telegraph.
“She ate medicated banana and was given food supplements,” chief wildlife warden Suresh Chand, who was with the chief minister, said.
The official said Gogoi wanted to know when the rhino strayed into Rani chapori in Sualkuchi from Pobitora wildlife sanctuary and how it swam across the river to Uparhali in Palasbari.
He was curious to learn how was it tranquillised in a wetland, which can be tricky and the kind of efforts taken by the forest department to bring it to safety.
“I am very happy to see the rhino safe in the zoo. We must appreciate the work done by the forest department to save it,” Gogoi said.
The chief minister asked the forest staff to provide full care to the rhino and take all steps necessary to send it back to Pobitora wildlife sanctuary.
“Gogoi’s visit was a morale booster for us,” Chand said.
The chief minister is concerned about the safety the rhinos in Assam and said steps would be taken for their safety and security, the chief wildlife warden added.
Doctors attending to the rhino said its condition had improved and the stress levels were coming down.
Proper medication is being given and the animal is responding to treatment, officials at the zoo said.
However, forest officials said it would take sometime to send the animal back to Pobitora as it had to fully recover first.
The rhino was in water from September 30 to October 7 and was injured, a forest official said.
“We do not want to put its life in danger once again,” the official added.
He said there was no hurry to take a decision and the department would wait for the correct time to release it back in the sanctuary.
Till that time the zoo would provide all the care to the rhino so that it would get back its strength.
Besides the rhino, Gogoi also visited the pair of white tigers, which arrived last year from Nandan Kannan zoo, Bhubaneswar.