Chitwan, November 26
The two female rhinos, Puspa and Anjali, have been put in separate cages and are being relocated to Koshi Tapu.
Ramesh Yadav, head of Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, claims that wetlands and grasslands are good for rhinos in Koshi Tappu. A 16-foot-high, 85-foot-long enclosure has been built to keep Pushpa and Anjali.
“We have water and a grass field in the enclosure,” says Yadav.
Conservationists, however, feel there has not been enough homework to be sending these rhinos to Koshi. They say that sending rhinos without conducting thorough studies and ensuring proper management would be wrong.
“Two rhinos were given as a gift in China, but both of them died, we could not save them,” said a former conservation officer of the park. “These rhinos who were moving freely around the buffer zone are being sent to an unknown place to be kept in a cage. Why?”
He questions if the officials at Koshi Tappu want a repeat of what happened in Chitwan when all the arnas relocated to Chitwan from Koshi died due to various reasons.
The conservation officer highlights a significant security challenge for rhinos in Koshi. He expresses concerns about potential risks such as floods on one side and poaching on the other. Additionally, he emphasises that the open border with India poses an ongoing threat to the safety of the rhinoceros in the future.
“I don’t understand why they chose two female rhinos. How will they reproduce? Do they want to reduce the number of rhinos?” the conservation officer questions.
Ganesh Prasad Tiwari, the information officer of the park, says once Pushpa and Anjali reach a suitable age for breeding, male rhinos will be sourced from either the zoo or Chitwan. Female rhinos are considered eligible for breeding at four years old, while male rhinos are deemed ready at six years old.