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Two rescued rhinos shifted to Manas

Jorhat, Jan. 28: Two rhinos from the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) near Kaziranga were today shifted to Manas National Park for rehabilitation.

CWRC is a wildlife rehabilitation facility jointly run by the Assam forest department and the International Fund for Animal Welfare -Wildlife Trust of India (IFAW-WTI).

Since 2006, five rhinos, three female and two male, that were hand-reared at CWRC, have been shifted and rehabilitated in the Manas National Park.

The two sub-adult male rhinos, both around four years old, were less than a month old when they were found abandoned at Kaziranga National Park. They were found alone on March 13 and August 21 in 2009 respectively at Baruntika and Haldhibari areas of the park.

A WTI official said both the hand-raised rhinos, named Gopal and Hari, started their 400km journey from the CWRC centre around 10am and are expected to reach Manas National Park around 11pm. Both the animals were being taken in two trucks fitted with professional rhino carrying crates.

A team of CWRC officials consisting veterinary doctors and animal keepers are accompanying the animals. The official said both the animals were separated from their mothers, the reason for which is not known.

“Last year we celebrated the birth of three calves by three female rhinos that we rehabilitated in Manas since 2006. We are extremely happy that two more of these rhinos, which arrived at CWRC as young calves and were raised by our team there, are now ready to take the step towards returning to the wild,” said Vivek Menon, executive director, WTI and regional director, South Asia, IFAW.

Chief conservator of forest and director of Kaziranga National Park and CWRC project leader M.K. Yadava said CWRC is the only such facility in the country through which rescued rhinos were being rehabilitated in the wild again.

“Three of the rehabilitated rhinos have become mothers in the wild and has proved the protocol correct. We hope these male rhinos too will bring new gene in the Manas rhino population,” Yadava said.