kaziranga rhinos for translocation


Park gears up for rhino shift
- First transport from Kaziranga to enrich Manas gene pool
Guwahati, March 8: Four Kaziranga rhinos will be captured, tranquillised and transported to Manas, 450km from their home — all for the good cause of strengthening the animal’s genetic diversity.
This will be the first ever rhino translocation from Kaziranga under Indian Rhino Vision 2020 to ensure that Manas National Park has a good range and mix of rhino genes.
Preparations for the translocation of the animals that weigh between 1,600 and 2,000kg — scheduled for March 23 — will begin in a few days.
“We will be getting the official papers on the translocation programme in a couple of days. With elections around the corner, getting security for conducting the programme will be a problem. This is a risky exercise as a slight mistake can lead to disasters,” a Kaziranga official said.
Eight rhinos have been translocated successfully to Manas National Park from Pobitora wildlife sanctuary in three rounds after the programme started in 2008.
“It is important to have genetic diversity of a species as it helps the animal adapt to different circumstances and gives it a better future for survival,” Udayan Borthakur, head of the wildlife genetics programme at Aaranyak, an NGO working on wildlife programmes, said.
If genes are not mixed, it also reduces an animal’s capacity to fight diseases.
“There has been no comprehensive study of genetic diversity of rhinos in the wild as of now. But Aaranyak has started a study using dung which will shed new light on its evolution,” Borthakur said.
The study will end by July. The project will also evaluate the effect of habitat fragmentation and other geographic barriers on movement of genes from one population to another in protected areas.


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