WWF helps orphan rhinos in Nepal
The two greater one-horned rhinos (Rhinoceros unicornis) include a female who was rescued four years ago after its mother was killed by a tiger, and a male who was rescued after being washed away and separated from its mother about eight years ago.
The enclosure is being built, with support from WWF's Terai Arc Landscape (TAL) Programme and the Bill Jordan Foundation-UK, in a natural setting at Kashara near the headquarters of the Royal Chitwan National Park in order to protect the rhinos from futher tiger attacks.
In the absence of an enclosure, a 17-month old rhino raised in the park was recently killed by a tiger on 21 January 2005.
"The park's scouts have lately intensified the monitoring of the rhinos after they started foraging in nearby fields," said Dr Chandra P Gurung, WWF Nepal's Country Representative. "Despite the regular monitoring, one rhino succumbed to injuries sustained in the tiger attack."
Mortality of wild animals due to natural calamities and poaching has resulted in increased numbers of orphans within the country's protected areas. These orphaned animals are more vulnerable than those in the wild. Behavioral changes are apparent among human-reared orphan animals, which reduce the chances of their adaptability and survival in the natural habitat. However, organizations, like WWF, are doing everything they can to make sure the animals return to the wild.
"The two orphan rhinos will be released in their natural habitat after they become sub-adults," said Gurung.
Two sub-adult rhinos raised at the Royal Chitwan National Park have already been translocated to the Royal Bardia National Park.
WWF Nepal has been providing support for the translocation of rhinos to establish new viable populations in other protected areas of the country. The objective of rhino translocation is to ensure the long-term survival of the endangered species.
In the late 1960s there were less than 100 rhinos left in Nepal. Thanks to conservation projects developed by the King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation, His Majesty's Government of Nepal's Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, the Biodiversity Conservation Network, and WWF, Nepal is now home to over 600 rhinos, with Royal Chitwan National Park having the second-largest population in the world.
For futher information:
Sangita Shrestha Singh, Communications Officer
WWF Nepal Programme Office
Tel: +977 1 4434820