Three rhino calves, including two females and a male, were released in the dedicated boma at Sidajhra area under Manas Tiger Reserve in the early morning on Saturday.
The rhino caves were rescued during the 2019 floods in Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve, and were hand-raised at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC).
The animals were rescued by the Assam Forest Department (AFD) and the IFAW- WTI vets from Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) at Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve in Assam.
The rhino calves have undergone a protocol of rehabilitation for two years before they were translocated to Manas Tiger Reserve (MTR) following the IFAW-WTI commitment of ‘Bringing Back Manas’ on Friday.
The convoy, travelling around 380 km since Friday evening from CWRC – Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve, reached Manas Tiger Reserve (MTR) in the early hours of Saturday for the scheduled release of the animals in their dedicated boma.
They will be kept and observed in the dedicated boma for a stipulated period for habituation before their final release in the wilderness of the reserve.
Anindya Swargowari, additional PCCF and CHD, Forests, BTR, has overseen the animal release and appreciated the teamwork being the chief of forests in the BTR along with other senior officials.
After the release of the rhinos, Amal Chandra Sharma, director of the Manas Tiger Project (MTP) said, “The three rehabilitated rhinos’ introduction at the boma in Sidajhar forest camp area has its own importance towards bringing back Manas.”
“The second translocation of rhinos from CWRC to Sidajhar will not only enrich the park’s rhino population as flagship species but also help in the protection of the landscape.”
“With the extensive wildlife protection activity at Sidajhar on the western part of the river Beki, we are hopeful that these rhinos will definitely enrich the population with their offspring in the coming years,” Sharma added.
Earlier, before moving from the CWRC, the three rhino calves went through health check-ups and marking before they were loaded in individual crates for translocation by the expert team of IFAW-WTI veterinarians along with Kaziranga National Park & Tiger Reserve FVO led by head vet Dr. Bhaskar Choudhury.
“Among the three animals, two females were rescued from Hatimura (Biswanath- North Bank) and Kuthuri area whereas the male was from Solmara during the Kaziranga floods that hit in July-August 2019,” said a press statement.
The AFD-WTI-IFAW along with BTR have augmented Manas with 19 rhinos including offspring of the released rhinos, born in the wilderness of Manas Tiger Reserve since 2006, out of the total population of 44 rhinos (Rhino Estimation 2021).
The release of flood-rescued and rehabilitated rhinos into Manas Tiger Reserve is a part of the long-term project of IFAW-WTI with AFD and BTR, where the translocated rhinos have bred, and their progeny have added to the rhino population of Manas Tiger Reserve.