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04/05/2013

A good news rhino story turns tragic

WWF-India Orphan Calf 4
The rhino calf is fed milk at a wildlife sanctuary. (Courtesy WWF)

Barely two weeks ago, we blogged a good news story about wildlife: how two translocated rhinos in India had three babies.

The two adult rhinos were relocated to a national park in northeast India in 2011 and the rhinos and their newborns were sighted on March 23 by World Wildlife Fund researchers.

Here is the bad news: One of the mothers was gunned down by poachers on Tuesday and her horn was chopped off. Her two-week-old baby is clinging to life, reports WWF.

After the mother's body was found, officials at the Manas National Park set out to find her baby, who would have otherwise died of starvation. The traumatized calf was eventually located, captured and brought to a safe place, says WWF.

“It was a challenge getting hold of the calf as it was very scared but thankfully it is fine and doing well now,” said WWF’s Deba Dutta who was part of the rescue team, in a statement.

But WWF says finding the calf doesn’t mean it will survive because baby rhinos depend on their mothers for the first few years of life.

Officials say it will be raised by rehabilitation experts in an enclosure.

“It is possible, but challenging, to successfully reintroduce rhinos to the wild,” says WWF.  

The last few months have been brutal for rhinos in India. In the north-east state of Assam, 16 one-horned rhinos have already been killed this year.

Raveena Aulakh is the Star's environment reporter. She is intrigued by climate change and its impact, now and long-term. Follow her on Twitter @raveenaaulakh

Comments

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Zoos are so awful. We should close them all. Move our elephants to this 'sanctuary.' Or one of those hunting farms where rich people pretend to go on safari and hunt them. Animals are best left in the wild where they are only exposed to poachers, hunters, culls, and killings for 'scientific' research.

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