Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary Archives - Rhino Review

Coronavirus: Assam government urged to suspend tourist entry inside national parks, state zoo (India)

By Conservation, News No Comments
Northeast Now | March 15, 2020

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GUWAHATI: As preventive measures against coronavirus, the Kaziranga Wildlife Society (KWS) has urged the Assam government to suspend all tourist entries inside the national parks, sanctuaries and the Assam State Zoo.

Stating that the tourist entries be suspended with immediate effect, the KWS said there has been a high risk of spread of the deadly virus from the unscreened tourists to other people.

“From mahouts to drivers, guides and forest guards, people, working in these wildlife-bearing areas, have become vulnerable as the tourist season is on and there have been no check-in tourist entries,” said Mubina Akhtar, secretary, KWS.

Original photo as published by NE Now News: Jeep safari in KNP. (File image)

“From Kaziranga to Manas, Pobitora to Dibru-Saikhowa, we could still find tourists frequenting these Protected Areas (PAs),” said Akhtar.

“Our fear has been that we have a very limited number of people engaged in protection and cannot afford them to be off duty. We, therefore, urge the government to take necessary and urgent steps,” she added.

The world is battling the outbreak of coronavirus and there have been calls for a permanent ban on the illegal wildlife trade because of the public health risks it poses.

From rhino horn to geckos, pangolins, skin-paws- bones of tiger and other wild cats have been regularly smuggled to the markets in South Asia, said Akhtar.

“Dormant deadly viruses could be transmitted to humans through wildlife like bats, pangolins, geckos, etc. as these animals have been largely traded,” the conservationist claimed.


Strayed rhino from Manas National Park raises questions on poaching attempt (State of Assam, India)

By Antipoaching, Conservation No Comments
Northeast Now News | February 24, 2020

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Wildlife activists are worried that poachers are probably again on the prowl in Manas National Park “to kill” the newly re-introduced one-horned rhinos.

Sources said a group of poachers had fired at a male rhino recently in Manas National Park.

The injured rhino on Saturday morning strayed out from the core area of the wild habitat and moved towards the west.

On Monday, the rhino was detected at Dholadonda village near Kuklong in Lower Assam’s Chirang district.

Original photo as published by Northeast Now News: Injured rhino being surrounded by local villagers.

Thousands of villagers assembled around a marshy open land to ensure that the rhino does not get to enter the area of human habitation of the village.

Photos available with Northeast Now showed that the rhino had an injury (suspected to be caused by a bullet) on the right shoulder, and was bleeding.

Forest guards rushed to the spot and tried to push back the rhino to the core area of Manas National Park.

Sources said the injured rhino was probably scared of the poachers, and crossed two rivers – Beki and Hakuwa, to reach Dholadonda village.

The incident of suspected bullet injury has created a major issue on the security of rhinos and other endangered species in Manas National Park.

Manas National Park was once home to more than 180 rhinos. But the entire population was wiped out during the ethnic unrest between 1988 and 2001.

Later the Assam government, in collaboration with Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), re-introduced orphaned rhino calves in Manas National Park between the years 2006 and 2014.

The initiative was supported by a number of organizations, including the US Fish and Wildlife Services, Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) and WADWT.

The programme aims to increase the population of the greater one-horned rhino by 3000 in new and potential areas throughout Assam by 2020.

As part of IRV-2020 rhino population range expansion strategy, 18 rhinos were translocated from Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary and Kaziranga National Park to Manas National Park between 2008 and 2012.

For a viable and stable population of a greater one-horned rhino at Manas National Park, it is essential to maintain a minimum of 40 rhinos with a sex ratio of 3:1.

The remaining rhinos required in different phases of the project will be brought from Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary and Kaziranga National Park.


Carcass of female rhino found near Pagladova Tourist Road in Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary (State of Assam, India)

By Antipoaching No Comments
The Sentinel Assam | January 7, 2020

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GUWAHATI: A carcass of female rhino was detected by a patrolling team of Tuplung Camp at Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary near Pagladova Tourist Road on Tuesday morning.

Following the recovery of the carcass of the female rhino, there were reports speculating around media houses that this rhino died due to poaching which is completely false and misleading, informed Sailendra Pandey, PRO to State Minister Environment and Forest Assam, Parimal Suklabaidya in a press statement.

Original photo as published by The Sentinel.

A team of veterinary doctors after proper investigation of the carcass has already confirmed that the rhino passed away due to old age-related issues.

Meanwhile, the Forests and Environment Minister Parimal Suklabaidya has expressed his deepest condolences in the passing away of the rhino and has thanked the beautiful soul for being a vital part of the natural heritage and pride of Assam.

Baby rhino born in Manas National Park brings New Year cheer for people of Assam (India)

By Conservation, News No Comments
Karishma Hasnat, News 18 | January 7, 2020

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GAUHATI: Laisri becomes a grandmother – her daughter R3A has given birth to a calf at the Manas National Park in Assam and the birth of the newborn rhino warrants a celebration in the state that is presently witnessing widespread protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

The six-year-old rhino, R3A, has become a mother for the first time – the calf was born on January 4, and authorities are documenting its movement since birth. The 15-year-old grandma was brought to Manas from the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary.

“R3A was born to Laisri in 2013 and we are happy to see her becoming a mother now. Laisri was relocated to Manas from Pobitora through the wild-to-wild translocation procedure. The calf’s gender is not yet known – our initial observations suggest that both the mother and baby are doing well in the wild,” said Deba Kumar Dutta, Landscape Coordinator (BHL, Manas Conservation Area), WWF-India and member of IUCN/SSC Asian Rhino Specialist Group.

Original photo as published by News 18: The newborn rhino calf walking alongside its mother. (Image: Karishma Hasnat)

The Manas National Park that reclaimed its UNESCO (Natural) World Heritage Site tag in 2011 is now home to 42 rhinos, including the rescued and the rehabilitated. The birth of a rhino calf is seen as a big win for conservationists, and their efforts towards protection of the critically threatened one-horned rhinoceros species, the pride of Assam.

“Manas has revived because of the rhino introduction process. It has been more than a decade since we translocated two male rhinos here from Pobitora in April 2008. It was a wild-to-wild rhino translocation. In 2006, rhinos were also brought to Manas from the rehabilitation centre,” Dutta said.

In the early 80-90s, heavy poaching had wiped out the entire rhino population in Manas, where prior to 1989, an estimate of more than 100 rhinos were living.

In 2005, the Assam government with the support from the International Rhino Foundation (IRF), the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Bodoland Territorial Council launched the Indian Rhino Vision 2020 (IRV2020) – a programme to reintroduce rhinos in protected areas – where they had fallen to poacher’s bullets.

In Assam, the rhino population is distributed in four major protected areas – Manas National Park, Kaziranga National Park, the Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary.

“Translocation is the intentional release of the animal to the wild in an attempt to establish, re-establish or augment the population.

Translocation of a rhino is not an easy process, and it has to follow strict international and national protocols,” explained Dutta, adding that the rhino translocation programme has also contributed to the mixing of genes as rhinos from Kaziranga and Pobitora have been introduced in the Manas National Park.

From 2008-2012, 10 rhinos have been translocated to Manas from Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary and eight others from Kaziranga National Park. Along with the wild rhinos, 17 rehabilitated rhinos from the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) have been introduced in the national park since 2006.

“Two more sub-adult rhinos are soon to be translocated from Kaziranga to Manas,” Dutta said while explaining how the authorities keep a track of the rhinos in the park.

“When they were first brought here, the rhinos were radio-collared, but once they were established, they have always been wild and free. It is a natural process of monitoring that we follow. It is ID-based and also through distinctive body features or through their movement pattern. Camera trap monitoring is also done, their ranges are well identified.”

Tourism was almost non-existent or limping in Manas from 2003-2008, but with the revival of the national park, there has been a giant increase in Assam’s tourism revenue. Till 2018, the revenue collection by Assam government stood at almost Rs 1 crore. The boost in tourism has also offered livelihood opportunities to the fringe community.

The increase in rhino population has further led to an increase in tiger and elephant population. At present, as many as 30 tigers are living in Manas National Park and Tiger Reserve, with the state government using the M-STrIPES (Monitoring System for Tigers – Intensive Protection and Ecological Status) application for better monitoring, surveillance and conservation of wildlife.

India holds 75% of world’s wild Indian rhino population, and due to multiple conservation efforts, the rhino population in Assam grew about 71% in between 1999 to 2018. According to Dutta, it has been a challenging task to re-establish the rhino population in Manas in the last decade. The Indian rhinos continue to be globally threatened due to habitat conversion, fragmentation and poaching.

“It has been a silent initiative to revive the rhino population at the Manas National Park and every birth makes a difference. But the rhino population and the fragile habitat of Manas need much more attention from all stakeholders of the society.”