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.
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