News Column

Translocated Rhinos Give Birth in Manas National Park, Assam, India

Mar 26 2013 12:00AM

Marketwire

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ASSAM, INDIA -- (Marketwire) -- 03/26/13 -- Editors Note: There is one photo associated with this press release.

Amidst the recent spurt in poaching of rhinos in the north east Indian state of Assam there is a reason to cheer. Two translocated rhinos in the Manas National Park of the state have given birth. Rhino 17, translocated to the Park in 2012 and Rhino 8, translocated to the Park in 2011, were sighted on 23rd March and yesterday respectively with their new born calves by WWF-India researchers and Assam Forest Department staff involved in post release monitoring of the rhinos.

Rhino 8 was translocated to Manas in January 2011 and it is certain that the mating with one of the translocated males and subsequent pregnancy happened in Manas. These births indicate that the translocated rhinos are breeding successfully and have adapted well to the new environment. In total, three calves have been born to translocated rhinos in Manas National Park to date.

The two rhinos were translocated under the aegis of the Indian Rhino Vision 2020 programme (IRV 2020) - a joint initiative of the Department of Environment and Forests, Government of Assam; WWF-India; the International Rhino Foundation (IRF) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, along with the Bodoland Territorial Council and supported by a number of local organisations. A total of 18 rhinos - ten from the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary and eight from the Kaziranga National Park have been translocated so far to the Manas National Park. The successes achieved under the programme until now are a result of the commitment and support extended to it by the different partners, stakeholders, local communities and forest staff of the different Protected Areas of Assam.

Under IRV 2020, Manas National Park has been provided much support to upgrade its infrastructure and monitoring capabilities to enable better protection for the translocated rhinos. It is now important to ensure the safety of these newborn calves and their mothers as well as the other rhinos in Manas so that the vision of establishing a viable rhino population is achieved over the long term.

WWF and IRF are excited at the prospect of partnering with the Assam Forest Department to return rhinos to the Laokhowa-Burachapori complex in Assam in the coming years, a site from where they were poached out in the 1980s.

The high demand for rhino horn in the illegal wildlife trade continues to be the biggest threat this newly established rhino population is facing with three translocated rhinos having fallen prey to poachers in the past two years. WWF and IRF, as constituents and partners of the IRV 2020 programme, continue to support the Assam Forest Department in its endeavour to provide a safe and secure future for Assam's rhinos spread across different Protected Areas.

Note: High resolution photographs can be downloaded from: http://www.sendspace.com/file/bkas4j

About WWF-India:

WWF-India is one of the largest conservation organisations engaged in wildlife and nature conservation in the country. It has an experience of over four decades in the field and has made its presence felt through a sustained effort not only towards nature and wildlife conservation, but sensitising people by creating awareness through capacity building and enviro-legal activism.

It is a part of WWF International, which is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.

http://www.wwfindia.org/news_facts/ for latest news and media resources

About the International Rhino Foundation:

The International Rhino Foundation is dedicated to the survival of the world's rhino species through conservation and research. At the heart of IRF's vision is the belief that these magnificent species should endure for future generations, and that protecting rhinos ensures the survival of many other species that share their habitat, including people.

IRF works to protect particularly threatened rhino populations and their habitats in the wild, while also supporting management of and research on captive populations to improve the chances for long-term survival. IRF operates in situ programs in Asia and Africa targeted to the rhino species most in need of and most appropriate for intensive protection and management.

http://www.rhinos.org

About IRV 2020:

The IRV 2020 is a joint programme of the Department of Environment and Forests - Government of Assam, WWF-India and the International Rhino Foundation (IRF) with support from the Bodoland Territorial Council, US Fish and Wildlife Service and the local communities.

The programme's vision is to increase Assam's rhino population to 3000 by 2020, which will be done by wild-to-wild translocation from Kaziranga National Park and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary to Manas and Dibru Saikhowa National Parks as well as Laokhowa and Burachopari Wildlife Sanctuaries. Assam accounts for the largest population of Indian rhinoceros. Though rhino numbers in the state have grown from 2000 in 2005 to over 2700 in 2011, more than 90% of these live in just one Protected Area, which is the Kaziranga National Park. The IRV 2020 programme aims to secure the long term survival of wild rhinos in Assam by expanding their distribution to reduce risks like disease, in-breeding depression and mass mortality.

To view the photo associated with this press release, please visit the following link: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/Rhino-17_and_calf_Jamir-Ali-WWF-India.jpg.



Contacts:
WWF-India
Dr. Dipankar Ghose
Director, Species & Landscapes
+91 99686 61133
dghose@wwfindia.net

WWF-India
Amit Sharma
Coordinator, Rhino Conservation
+91 943501 5657
amitsharma@wwfindia.net

WWF-India
Anil Cherukupalli
Senior Communications Officer
+91 99998 33440
anil.cherukupalli@wwf.panda.org





Source: Marketwire