Stray rhinos who entered Assam village, released back in forest

Two one-horned rhinos, who strayed from Orang National Park and Tiger Reserve and entered nearby villages in Assam’s Darrang district, were captured by forest officials and returned back to the forest, official said on Monday.

Divisional Wildlife Officer B.V. Sandeep told IANS over phone that one of the rhinos was tranquillised after a long effort, with the help of locals, and was released to the forest on Saturday while the other rhino, which remained in the village pond, was also captured on late Sunday and driven back to the forest without any harm.

The rhinos first entered the Konakata Para village and then went to the nearby Gadhaijhar village evoking panic among the villagers, who told the media that one person was injured when one of the rhinos attacked him.

The Orang National Park, which is also known as mini Kaziranga National Park, is the natural habitation of 101 rhinos and some Royal Bengal Tigers as recorded in 2018.

The park, covering an area of nearly 79 square km, is also the home to several other wildlife species including elephants, wild buffaloes, hog deer, pigmy hog and Bengal Florican among others.

Wildlife activists said that the habitats of wild animals have been shrinking over the decades due to encroachment and felling of forest resources by the people, leading to man-animal conflicts. There have also been many incidents in Assam in the recent past when angry mobs killed leopards, elephants and other wild animals, who also killed several people.