CHITWAN, April 4: The government has started translocating rhinos from the Chitwan National Park (CNP) to the Shuklaphanta National Park (SNP) in farwestern Nepal.
A male rhino sheltering in Sukhibhar grazing land in the western side of CNP was tranquilized, caged and dispatched to the SNP on Monday afternoon.
“It is the decision of the government to translocate one male and four female rhinos from CNP to SNP amid concerns over their safety,” said Ram Chandra Kandel, chief conservation officer at CNP. According to him the translocation of all four rhinos will be complete within a week. One-horned rhino is among the rare and endangered species of animal which is only found in Nepal and some parts of India. There are altogether 645 rhinos in Nepal and most of them are in the CNP.
As per the rhino census of 2015, there are 605 rhinos at the CNP alone. In the same year, the government had decided to translocate 25 CNP rhinos to Bardiya National Park (BNP) and five to SNP. Following the decision, five rhinos were translocated to BNP last year. Chief Conservation Officer, Kandel informed that altogether 88 rhinos were moved to BNP from Chitwan.
One of the major objectives behind the translocations is to provide the rhinos favorable habitat and also to protect them from hunting and poaching. “There is the fear of the animal becoming extinct especially due to various epidemics but if they are kept in different areas at least some can be saved,” said Kandel. The World Wildlife Fund-Nepal and National Trust for Nature Conservation are working with national parks in the translocation work.
Various organizations in the buffer zones and Sauraha have released a joint memorandum to draw the government's attention toward what they called haphazard translocation. Locals have demanded that proper study be done beforehand to make sure whether the new habitat is favorable for the rhino.