Rhino killed in Assam

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Guwahati, April 3 (IANS) A dead female rhino with its horn missing was recovered from the Manas National Park in Assam, officials said Wednesday, taking the total number of rhinos poached in the state to 16 this year.

The officials said the carcass was recovered from Kahitema area of the park under Basbari forest range.

“Preliminary investigation showed that the rhino was killed last night (Tuesday night),” said an official adding that the female rhino was trans-located to Manas National Park from Kaziranga National Park in 2012.

The park is located over 170 km away from Assam’s main city Guwahati and it shares a contiguous landscape with the Royal Manas Park of Bhutan.

“The female rhino was trans-located to Manas National Park (MNP) from Kaziranga National Park (KNP) on March 12, 2012,” said the official adding that the rhino had given birth to a calf on March 23 this year.

This is the 17th rhino-out of the total 22 rhinos trans-located to the Manas National Park since 2008 from Kaziranga National Park and Pabitora Wildlife Sanctuary as part of the Indian Rhino Vision 2020 programme (IRV-2020).

The IRV-2020 is a joint programme of Assam forest department, World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) and International Rhino Foundation (IRF) for translocation of the rhinos to Manas National Park in Assam aiming at attaining a population of 3,000 wild rhinos in seven protected areas of Assam by the year 2020.

The programme also aims at securing the long-term survival of wild one-horned rhinos in Assam by expanding their distribution to all the protected areas.

This is the fourth rhino killed in Manas National Park since June 2011, when the park regained its Unesco World Heritage Site status.

The park was initially accorded the World Heritage Site status by the Unesco in 1985 due to its successful conservation of rhino and other wildlife animals.

However, the international body declared Manas as World Heritage Site in Danger in 1992 after the rhino population of the park was almost wiped out due to Bodo insurgency.

It was only on June 2011 that the park regained its World Heritage Site status by the Unesco.

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