Sunday, 5 May 2013

Hand-reared rhino gives birth in the wild

Hand-reared rhino gives birth in Manas National Park
April 2013. A rhino, hand-reared by humans and rehabilitated in India's Manas National Park as part of the species reintroduction programme, has given birth in the wild, for the first time in India.

July 2004, by the Assam Forest Department. She was hand-raised by veterinarians and animal keepers at the IFAW-WTI-run Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) near Kaziranga. 

Dharati's birth marks a milestone in the Rhino Rehabilitation Project, a joint venture of the Assam Forest Department and IFAW-WTI. Dharati's birth marks a milestone in the Rhino Rehabilitation Project, a joint venture of the Assam Forest Department and International Fund for Animal Welfare - Wildlife Trust of India (IFAW-WTI) that hand-raises orphaned or displaced calves to rehabilitate them in the wild.

Vivek Menon, Executive Director, WTI, and Regional Director - South Asia, IFAW, said, "This is very special for all of us. The situation of rhinos across the world has been depressing, with so many poached for their horns in the past year. In this seemingly-bleak scenario, the instances like this are what keep us optimistic and spirited to do more." 

Ganga was hand-raised by people. NK Vasu, Chief Conservator of Forests and Field Director - Kaziranga, who was present during her rescue, said, "Our staff based at Baghmara camp rescued her from the floods. We searched for her mother but could not find her. So we admitted her to CWRC. Her condition was quite bad then, but all the efforts that went into her have finally been rewarded." 

Manas had lost all its rhinos
Ganga, and now Dharati, are a part of the rhino reintroduction programme in Manas National Park, launched in 2006, with the move of the first hand-raised calf from CWRC. Manas had lost all its rhinos by the 1990s as the area reeled under severe civil conflict. It was also declared a World Heritage Site in danger. A number of initiatives including the rhino reintroduction have been implemented here since peace was largely restored in early 2000s. In 2011, the ‘in danger' tag was lifted by UNESCO. 



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