Assam’s rhinos are caught between the devil and the deep sea – soft targets of poachers in the wild and victims of “poor management” in confinement.
Indian Rhino Vision 2020, is an ambitious effort to attain a wild population of at least 3,000 greater one-horned rhinos spread over seven protected areas in Assam by 2020. The initiative was launched in 2005.
But the beginning of 20th century, saw the species reduced to 200 due to hunting and habitat loss in northern India and Nepal. Currently the population of rhinos is more than 3,345.
IRF has partnered with the Assam Forest Department, the Bodoland Territorial Council, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and the US Fish and Wildlife Service to address the threats facing rhinos. Rhinos are being moved from overcrowded areas, like Kaziranga National Park and Pabitora Wildlife Sanctuary, to other protected areas where they can breed. Along with continuing strict protection and community engagement, spreading Indian rhinos out among more protected areas will create a larger, safer and more stable population.
But despite some success, rhinos are still threatened by poaching and habitat loss.
Bishnu, one of the oldest one-horned rhino’s in captivity in Assam State Zoo, died on Monday morning. The rhino died a few days ahead of his 34th birthday.
The rhino was suffering from a bout of diarrhea so severe that his rectum has prolapsed.
A team of veterinarians, managed to reinsert the rectum after a marathon operation.
Although his condition improved after the operation, he began loosing teeth.
His teeth had worn out a few months ago due to which he was unable to eat solid food. But then he stopped eating.
He was in better health since December, with a team of zoo employees moving along with him holding a saline drip hanging from a piece of bamboo.
This made him more of an attraction, than it was before. Rhino’s in captivity live almost upto 40 years.