Assam to build rhino database

Conservation efforts based on Masai Mara National Park in Kenya
Guwahati, Nov. 28 : Taking a cue from Kenya’s Masai Mara National Park, the Assam forest department has decided to prepare the janamkundali (database) of every rhino found in the state’s national parks for a better understanding of the prized animal.
It would be a Herculean task as Assam has the largest population of one-horned rhinos in the world — Kaziranga National Park alone has a rhino population of more than 2,000.
However, experts said such a database on African rhinos had turned out to be a boon for conservation efforts in Kenya.
The project to prepare a complete database on each and every rhino will be first implemented at Orang Rajiv Gandhi National Park, the smallest rhino habitat in the state with a population of 65.
“Apart from providing better security cover, it will help in proper management and conservation of the rhinos,” the director of the park, Sushil Daila, told this correspondent today.
Daila, along with forest officials from Manas National Park and Kaziranga, had attended a conference sponsored by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Nepal a couple of days ago regarding implementation of the project.
The database will include each and every detail of a rhino vis-à-vis date of birth, body structure, behaviour and its area of movement, among others.
The Geographical Information System (GIS) and Global Positioning System (GPS) will be used to monitor the rhinos at the parks on a day-to-day basis.
Daila said in the case of existing rhinos, the date of birth would be assumed plus/minus four years.
He said having the janamkundalis of the rhinos would improve the health of the park.
“With the help of such a database, we will know exactly when the park will be saturated with rhino population,” he added.
Citing an example, he said a female rhino normally gave birth after an interval of two to three years, starting from the age of 10. Any variation in this cycle would indicate that something abnormal.
“Such changes could indicate, for instance, that there was a shortage of male rhinos. In such cases, we will have to think of translocating the females to other parks. The entire database would help us to know the rhinos better and boost our conservation efforts,” he said.
The database will also help protect the rhinos from the evil eyes of poachers since tabs would be kept on each rhino as a matter of routine.
“Each and every rhino will be monitored on a daily basis and if a certain rhino is found missing from a certain location where it generally grazes, a search can be launched immediately. All I can say is that poachers will not find it easy to kill a rhino after the database is prepared,” Daila added.