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Thread: New arrival ushers hope for Rhino in Dudhwa

  1. #1
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    Default New arrival ushers hope for Rhino in Dudhwa

    LUCKNOW: Banke has his clan growing. The dusky old rhino, now 30 plus, has seen his fourth generation set in. When his female partner Rajeshwari
    gave birth to a calf on Friday (September 11), a new hope dawned for the rhinos in Dudhwa.

    In the prime of his youth, Banke mated with all the females of his clan and has the rare distinction of fathering almost half of Dudhwa's rhino population. The age, however, has brought a weaker side to him. But no worries as the young rhinos have been added to the population. With the birth of the new one, there are now seven males, 15 females and seven young ones.

    The forest department is mulling to relocate some rhinos to another patch for heterogeny. A press release issued by the department on Tuesday said that male rhinos will be brought in from outside. The plan on it is being prepared by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and will be funded by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

    The rhinos had become almost extinct from this region. In 1984, one-horned rhino was rehabilitated in 27 sq kms of Kakraha forest division of Dudhwa National Park. For the purpose, seven more rhinos were brought from Pobitara Sanctuary in Assam and Chitwan National Park in Nepal.

    Rhino rehabilitation programme has been one of the most successful rehabilitation programmes. The present figure of 29 is fairly good in the state. No wonder, it is a major requirement to shift few of the existing 29 rhinos from one range of Dudhwa National Park to another.

    All the rhinos are stationed in a 27 kilometre square area and this puts them at the risk of being wiped out in a single calamity. The proposal to put a few from the lot in an adjacent Belrayen range within the contours of the park has been a part of Dudhwa management plan for quite some time now.

    The state was deprived of its last rhino in the year 1878 in the adjacent forests of Pilibhit area lying in the Terai belt of the state. After even the last animal was killed, rhinos were almost extinct from Indo-Gangetic plain. But setting up of Dudhwa in 1977 helped in rhino conservation.

    Dudhwa is the perfect refuge for the animal given its location in Terai and climate. The habitat here is conducive for one-horned rhino, mainly a native of Indian sub-continent.

    Original link -

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/n...ow/5016133.cms
    Regards,
    Mrudul Godbole

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    Default

    It is a good step. The initial efforts to shift rhinos to Dudhwa was not a success. However, later on they were successful.

    It is good to ensure that there is sufficient genetic variability in the population. So the idea of bringing in new stock/ male rhinos is good. Along with male rhinos a few more female rhinos should also be brought.

    I think the rhinos have stayed in the enclosure for a really long time. They need to be allowed to move out of the enclosure. Strict patrolling should be done to ensure that they don't fall prey to poachers.

    Cheers,
    Sabyasachi

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    Default Dudhwa Rhinos fight for Turf

    Dear All,
    I found this article in Times of India.
    Sabyasachi

    Dudhwa rhinos fight for turf


    IANS 11 October 2009, 06:25pm IST
    DUDHWA (Uttar Pradesh): A fierce turf war is raging among rhinos in the Dudhwa National Park. With the rhino population rising to 29 with the
    birth of another calf in mid-September, the fight over food and territory has become intense, say concerned forest officials.

    With their area restricted to a 27-sq km enclosure, located in the South Sonaripur range of the park, the increasing number of the huge animals is literally pushing them to the edge.

    Bankey, the oldest male rhino at 27 years, was brought to the park around two decades ago from the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam in 1984. He and another male along with three females was brought to the park, located in the Lakhimpur-Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh, as part of a plan to reintroduce the species in the Gangetic plains.

    Today, Bankey can be proudly called the "great granddaddy" of the rhinoceros population in the park. There are three generations now after him - six adult males, 15 females and seven calves in the enclosure, protected with electrified fencing. Rhinos live up to 60 years.

    The enclosure was built to acclimatise the rhinos with the environs before their release into the wild.

    However, their rising number has led to deadly fights over food, territory and females, said a forest official. The bull rhinos stage lethal attacks on their rivals in the race for prospective female partners.

    "We have to plan for their future. Either the fenced-in area should be increased or the fence opened," P.P. Singh, deputy director of the park, told IANS.

    "How long can one keep the animals inside the fence? Also a big chunk of the rhino area is blocking the movement of other wild animals in the park. They have to go around the enclosure," Singh said.

    Two proposals are currently being considered by the forest department - to create a separate enclosure and/or to expand the existing area. However, both may prove short-term as the electric fencing around the enclosure blocks the movement of other wild animals.

    "We also need to have a security arrangement in place in case the rhinos stray outside, and damage crops and property. Adequate compensation has to be given to the affected people," he said.

    The rhino reintroduction was carried out by the Asian Rhino Specialist Group (now Species Survival Commission) of the global NGO International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

    Besides the overcrowding, the grasslands the giant herbivores feed on are also threatened with sedimentation from the Suheli river that flows along the southern boundary of the park.

    This problem started some five years ago due to large-scale stone quarrying upstream in Nepal. Said Singh, "From time to time we have to carry out desiltation work on the river", which requires additional manpower and money.

    "The regular sedimentation changes the pattern of the grass", while the rising riverbed poses the danger of floods and destruction of the grasslands, he added.

    The forest department had planted 14 kinds of plants that rhinos love, apart from what was naturally available. In addition, the area inside the enclosure has seven tubewells to supplement the water supply.

    The Dudhwa National Park, spread over 680 sq km, is also home to tigers, leopards and different species of deer, among other animals.

    The source article can be found here:
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/h...ow/5112677.cms

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    Default Free the Rhinos

    Frankly speaking, I am ashamed of the conservation effort here. This news is disturbing.

    They have been shifted more than two decades ago to Dudhwa. It is a normal practice to use an enclosure to initially introduce an animal so that it gets acclimatised. It seems there has been no management plan for these rhinos. Why are they still in this enclosure?

    The enclosure should be broken down so that the Rhinos can roam on their own. Patrolling should be enhanced so that poachers don't run amok.

    Sabyasachi

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    I second Sabyasachi's observation.

    Lack of strategic planning has probably fleeced the Dudhwa story of its otherwise commendable pat on the back.

    If the officers have managed to grow the rhino population to 30+ from a handful in the last two decades, they ought to be congratulated on their successful relocation program. Others can learn from this for sure.

    This does make me think...

    Probably one reason for the thriving rhino population was the small size of the "enclosure" - 27sqkm - making it easier / manageable for forest officers to cover the enclosure. Also the man made enclosure (electric fence?) created a classic virgin wild track - unhindered by human habitation etc.

    This conclusively proves that conservation can be a success story by replicating dudhwa rhino kind of setup on a much much larger scale. Hence key to India's conservation are more armed officer for every sqkm, fencing and strict removal of human interference from the wild habitats.

    Amen to that!
    Last edited by Ranbir Mahapatra; 14-10-2009 at 05:28 PM.

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