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Assam: Rhino Vision 2020 gets on the roll
K Anurag in Guwahati | April 11, 2008 18:30 IST
Assam on Friday started its chapter of rhino translocation under the countrywide Rhino Vision 2020 mission that has been formulated to facilitate uniform distribution of the population of the endangered Asiatic rhinoceros in suitable wildlife areas across the country and increase the rhino population to 3,000 by the year 2020.
Two rhinos were tranquilised and captured in the wild of Assam's Pobitora Wildlife sanctuary after hours-long struggle by a big team of wildlife personnel and security men on Friday and they are being shifted for translocation in Manas National Park located in lower Assam bordering Bhutan.
A senior wildlife official informed that captured rhinos would be freed in a new environment in Manas National Park, which is a unique biosphere reserve marked 'World Heritage Site in Danger' by the UNESCO due to wanton destruction of flora and fauna in the park during a violent militant movement by the Bodo tribe during 1990s and early 2000s.
It is for the first time that 'wild-to wild' translocation of rhino is taking place in Assam where the total rhino population is close to 2,000, the highest in the country.
In fact, the rhino density is very in tiny Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary located about 40 km away from Guwahati towards east.
Over 80 rhinos are residing in an area of only 16 sq km inside the sanctuary.
The high-density of rhino population is the reason why Pobitora has been chosen as the source of rhinos for the first ever wild-to wild translocation in Assam.
The new destination of these rhinos, the sprawling Manas National Park has a very insignificant rhino population as on date.
Though Assam Wildlife and Forest Department was planning to capture four rhinos in Pobitora Park on Friday for the purpose of translocation, it could capture only two because of time constraints.
"It was a very difficult process, fraught with danger, to capture rhinos in the wild. Our team could capture only two with much effort during the stipulated time today," the Wildlife official said.
The state Wildlife Department plans to shift about 40 rhinos from Kaziranga National Park and Pobitora Sanctuary to Manas National Park under the Rhino Vision 2020 project.