LUCKNOW: Dudhwa tiger reserve in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri district has been made ready to be new home for rhinoceros.
At present the entire rhino population of the reserve is sheltered in a fenced 27 sq km area in Sonaripur range of the reserve.
There are at least 30-odd rhinos in Dudhwa. Some of these rhinos can now be shifted to a new 14 sq km fenced area in the adjacent range of the reserve. Proposal to shift some of them is a part of Dudhwa management plan and has been pending for a long time.
Sources said that it would be done under the guidance of the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) after getting permission from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
Putting all rhinos in one place puts them at risk of being wiped out in a single calamity. Sources said young ones will be transferred to the new location.
State government had been planning to shift some rhinos since 2001 but there were several considerations to be made before it was done as the patch also has a railway line passing through it.
Five rhinos were brought to Dudhwa in 1984 after being captured in the forests of Assam surrounding Kaziranga under the Rhino Rehabilitation Project.
Out of these only three survived—a female and two males. In 1985, four more rhinos were brought. The initial herd of seven rhinos has grown in size manifolds, hence the need to shift some of them to a new shelter.
UP lost its last rhino in 1878 in Pilibhit forests. After that, rhinos were extinct from Indo-Gangetic plain.