The Tribune India | November 16, 2020
According to rules, rhino calves below the age of one year are not considered in the census as most of them do not survive. The count of one-horned rhino in Dudhwa has now reached 42.
“We are happy to include four rhino calves in the census and now we have 42 rhinos in Dudhwa. Monitoring teams are keeping a close eye on the rhinos. The calves are not included in the census because they have face threats in the form of weather, carnivores like leopards and tigers,” Manoj Sonkar, deputy director of DTR (core), told reporters.
The rhinos presently live in enclosures of over 20 square-kilometres in South Sonaripur range (phase 1) and Belariya range (phase 2) of the reserve.
“Since the rise in population of the rhinos in phase 1, the patrolling has been increased in the protected area. In 2019, two rhinos died due to infighting while a month-old calf was killed by a tiger in 2020,” the DFO said.
Rhinos was completely wiped out from Uttar Pradesh jungles. Then in 1984, five rhinos were re-introduced in Dudhwa from Assam. They were brought here under the Rhino Rehabilitation Project.
Kaziranga in Assam is home to two-thirds of the world’s one-horned rhinos.
Out of the five rhinos, only three survived — a female and two males. In 1985, four more female rhinos were brought from Nepal. The herd of seven rhinos flourished in Dudhwa.
Bankey, the oldest male rhino, was considered as the father of the rhino population in Dudhwa. He died in 2016 at the age of 50.
In 2018, another four rhinos were translocated to the tiger reserve.
Rhinos play an important role in the ecosystem as they are the umbrella species and their absence directly impacts the survival of other mammals, fish, insects and birds. When they run, they flatten the grassland making it easier for small mammals to walk.
The possibility of forest fire decreases drastically in the area where rhino stays. They also help in pollination of tree seeds through their dung and enrich the soil as well.