Rhino translocation from April

Kathmandu, March 26

The government, in collaboration with conservation partners, is preparing to translocate five rhinos to Shuklaphanta National Park from Chitwan National Park.

According to the National Trust for Nature Conservation, the translocation process will start from the first week of April.

Rhino expert and Senior Conservation Officer at the NTNC Naresh Subedi said they plan to translocate five rhinos to Shuklaphanta first, and another five rhinos will be shifted to Bardia where five rhinos were translocated last year.

“The translocation process will take place after shifting swamp deer to Chitwan National Park from Shuklaphanta,” Subedi said.

Although the government had decided to relocate 30 rhinos, 30 wild water buffaloes, and 35 swamp deer to protected areas by 2018, only five rhinos, 11 wild water buffaloes, and five swamp deer were successfully shifted in the fiscal 2016/17.

The government had decided to relocate 25 rhinos to Bardiya National Park and five to Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve from Chitwan National Park, 30 wild water buffaloes to CNP from Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, and 25 swamp deer to BNP and 15 to CNP from Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve.

The Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation informed that capturing and shifting the animals required huge investment of time and money.

During the first rhino translocation this year, 33 elephants and a team of about 250 people led by the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation with the support of WWF Nepal, the National Trust for Nature Conservation, the Nepali Army, and local communities were involved.

The translocation was funded by WWF’s AREAS Program, WWF US, USAID, and US Fish and Wildlife Service.

The rhino, an adult male, was first tracked and sedated in Chitwan National Park on March 1, 2016. It was then fitted with a satellite collar and loaded on to a specially designed truck to transport it safely to Babai Valley in Bardia National Park where it was released on March 2.

Similarly, as many as 11 wild water buffaloes were relocated to CNP from Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve and the Central Zoo in February this year. The first of the pair was relocated from the KTWR to CNP in January.