Orphan rhino settles into new home



Posted on 20 June 2013  | 
Two months after a rhino calf was rescued by WWF staff and concerned residents, the vulnerable animal is thriving in a specially-built enclosure within India's Manas National Park. The little greater one-horned rhino was only a few weeks old when its mother was gunned down by poachers for her horn.

At the time of its rescue the calf's survival was not assured, but thanks to the efforts of a dedicated rehabilitation team he may someday be able to return to the wild.

There are only about 3,200 greater one-horned rhinos remaining and many have been killed in recent years to meet increasing demand for rhino horn, which is believed to have magical curative properties. 

“We are happy that the rhino calf is doing well in its enclosure," said Suresh Chand the Chief Wildlife Warden of India's Assam province. "The calf is a symbol of hope now for the rhinos of Manas and we will do our utmost to ensure that it survives to adulthood and can eventually be released from the enclosure to join the free ranging ones in the park.” 

The calf is hand fed eight times per day by dedicated keepers under the supervision of a team of veterinarians, park officials and members of WWF-India’s rhino team who monitor his condition on a daily basis.

The Assam Forest Department is planning to bring into enclosure another orphan rhino, which is currently living in a rescue centre in India's Kaziranga National Park, so that the two similarly-aged calves can keep each other company.

In a ray of hope for the species, two greater one-horned rhino calves have been born in Manas over the past month. But officials are gravely concerned about their safety in the wake of increased poaching attacks. Four rhinos have been killed in the park since it was re-populated with rhinos through translocation in recent years. Across the Assam province, 16 rhinos have been gunned down to meet consumer demand for rhino horn primarily coming from Viet Nam.  

WWF is working with Indian law enforcement officials to ensure that rhinos are given the best possible protection in the parks where they live. We are also taking the message to Viet Nam by asking 62 million mobile phone subscribers to "say no to rhino horn".






 
A rhino calf whose mother was killed by poachers is now being taken care of by conservationists.
© WWF-India / Deba Kr. Dutta Enlarge
There are only 3,200 greater one-horned rhinos left in the wild. This little orphan may soon get a companion. Someday they could be released into the wild to help their species grow.
© WWF-India / Bipul Nath Enlarge
A boma was build to house the orphan calf. Rhinos across Asia and Africa are being decimated by poachers seeking to traffic their horns.
© WWF-India / Bipul Nath Enlarge

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