Forest and Wildlife Department,

Government of Uttar Pradesh, India

Shri. Yogi Adityanath

Hon'ble Chief Minister,Uttar Pradesh

Shri. Dara Singh Chauhan

Hon'ble Minister,Forest Department

Rhinoceros of Dudhwa-2

Community latrine is an unique activity of rhinos. Rhinos defecate at single place, in higher terrains to avoid unhygienic condition and water pollution. IRs does not go to a particular place to defecate. Whenever it feet a urge, but it does set an urge whenever it smells a dung heap.

Indian Rhino is an indicator species of the wetland ecosystem, are of the richest & most productive ecosystems of the world. By studying the rhino we can learn a lot about the wetland ecosystem. Study of rhino requires a lot more conservation, protection &, awareness about rhino.

Rhino Reintroduction Programme

The range of the Greater Indian Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) once spanned the flood plains of the Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers. Historical texts such as Babur-nama record the present Indo-Burmese border in the East. Hunting and habitat destruction in the last couple of centuries however finished off the rhino in much of this range, the only pockets left being in North-East India and Nepal.
In August 1979. the Asian Rhino Specialist Group of !he IUCN Survival Service Commission (now known as the Species Survival Commission) emphasised the need for continuous effort in protection and monitoring of the species, adding that “steps must been envisaged to establish additional viable population units in suitable areas, preferably in the rhinos former distribution range”.

Following up on these recommendation of the Asian Rhino Specialist Group, the Wildife Status Evaluation Committee of the Indian Board For Wildlife appointed, in 1979, A sub-committee to consider alternative areas for rhino translocation. Of the various areas considered by this sub-committee, Dudhwa Naational Park was thought to be the most promising because of the similarities of habitat to that of Kaziranga National Park, the fact that rhinos had been recorded in this area till the last century and the adequacy of the protection available. The suitability was confirmed by Prof. Schenkel, Chairperson of the Asian Rhino Specialist Group and was further supported by vegetation studies by the Botanical Survey of India which revealed the presence of several preferred food (grass) species of rhino.

Once the decision to establish a rhino population in Dudhwa was taken, considerable groundwork was needed to make this a reality. The area selected as the Rhino Reintroduction Area (RRA) is in South Sonaripur Range. It comprises of the entire Kakraha Block and a part of Chhota Palia Block. The RRA has as many as nine permanent large and small lakes. The chain of these lakes lies along the damar sal and grassland ecotone. These lakes and two nallahs, Andhra and Chabakwa are old courses of the river Suheli. During monsoon, major parts of the grasslands get flooded. Running water can be seen in the two nallahs and chain of lakes, while the other areas have up to 4 feet of standing water. The area of 27 sq.km. comprising some damar sal forests (20%) and grasslands (80%) was initially enclosed by a three-strand electric fence. A 9 km. stretch of Park boundary was additionally protected against accidental escape by the construction of a rhino-proof trench outside the electric fence. Holding stockades for the new arrivals were built within the fenced zone. Field staff was sent to Assam for training in rhino management.

During March-April 1984 six rhinos were captured near Pobitara Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam. Of these one died at Guwahati Zoo and the rest, two males and three females were translocated to Dudhwa. At Dudhwa, the animals were kept in stockades and then released. Of the five animals, one female died of stressful abortion before she could be released. The first batch of animals was released in Dudhwa on 20.4.1984. The large male was held back until the others had settled and released after radio collaring a few days later. Another female died on July 31, 1984 after a bid to tranquilise her to treat a wound. With only one female and two males left, an urgent need was felt to translocate some more rhinos. The collaboration of the Government of Nepal was obtained in the exchange of four young adult female rhinos for sixteen elephants. The rhinos captured from near Chitwan National Park in Nepal arrived in Dudhwa in April 1985. Thus these seven rhinos, two males and five females made up the seed population.
The first evidence of breeding in the reintroduced population was detected under unfortunate circumstances when remains of a newly born calf was discovered in a patch of tall grass in August 1987. The first successful calving occurred in early 1989. This was followed by three more calves in the same year.

Monitoring

The rhino population is monitored daily from elephant back. Presently four elephants are engaged in this work.

The mahawats and staff scan the area for rhinos and report their observations which are recorded in a register. The monitoring of the re-introduction project is done from two places that is Salukapur & Base camp. Daily reports are sent to Range Head Quarters and office of Deputy Director at Palia.

Future programme
  • Introduction of New Blood Stock to address the problems of inbreeding.
  • More intensive habitat management activities in the RRA.
  • Strength ing of the Solar Powered fencing in RRA.
  • Creation of a second RRA as a satellite to the existing RRA.
  • Inclusion of Rhino in the State list of dangerous wild animals for crop compensation payment etc.