The main objectives of rhino translocation were to establish a viable population in Bardia Nationa Park, a breeding population in Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve and to safeguard this endangered species from poaching and natural calamities such as flood, fire and epidemics. The rise in rhino numbers in Chitwan National Park also created difficult situations between local people and rhino conservation as a few of the animals entered fields during the night and ate the crops. The other purpose of rhino translocation was to minimize the conflict perceived as a potential threat in ensuring the long-term survival of rhinos.
Founder populations of 13 rhinos were reintroduced from Chitwan National Park to Bardia National Park in 1986. Most of the translocated females conceived shortly after they were released, indicating their acceptance of their new habitat. In 1991, 25 rhinos were translocated to the Babai valley in the northeastern part of Bardia National Park. The rhino population in Bardia National Park increased to 45 by 1995, but the population density of rhinos in the park is still low (0.3 animals/km2) compared to that of Chitwan National Park (8-10 animals/km2). The translocation of rhinos to Bardia National Park should bolster the creation of a viable rhino population (Jnawali, 1995).
Furthermore, to strengthen the rhino population in Bardia National Park and on the recommendation made by AsRSG in 1999, Government of Nepal translocated an additional batch of four, 16, and five rhinos to Babai valley at Bardia National Park in 1999, 2000 and 2001 respectively. Four rhinoceros were translocated to Sukhlaphanta Wildlife Reserve for the first time in November 2000. At present, Sukhlaphanta Wildlife Reserve has six rhinos including one adult male, which has lived in the area for approximately four years, and a newborn calf of unknown sex. During March 2003, DNPWC translocated 10 more rhinos to Babai valley to make the Bardia National Park population about 100 rhinos.
Since 1986, a total of 87 rhinos have been translocated to Bardia National Park and four to Sukhlaphanta Wildlife Reserve from Citwan Nationa Park. During the last translocation in April 2003, 10 rhino, seven of which were radio collared, were released across Babai valley in the Eastern Chisapani sector of Bardia National Park.
Rhino Translocations in Nepal
|S No.||Year||Sex||Release Site||Total|
|1||1986||8||5||Bardia National Park, Thakurdwara||13|
|2||1991||8||17||Bardia National Park, Babai Valley||25|
|3||1999||4||-||Bardia National Park, Babai Valley||4|
|4||2000||8||8||Bardia National Park, Babai Valley||16|
|5||2000||1||3||Sukhlapanta Wildlife Reserve, Rani Tal||4|
|6||2001||2||3||Bardia National Park, Babai Valley||5|
|7||2002||5||5||Bardia National Park, Babai Valley||10|
|8||2003||3||7||Bardia National Park, Babai Valley||10|