Five rhino calves rescued in one day from Assam floods

As a second round of devastating floods hit Kaziranga National Park this weekend, the IFAW-WTI team at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) brought in five rhino calves ranging from a week to six months of age. 

rescuing a baby rhino from the floods in assam india

Rhino Calf 1: Haldibari Forest Beat (above)
This male rhino calf is only about a week old and was found with its umbilical cord still attached. He was rescued through the joint efforts of the CWRC Mobile Veterinary Service (MVS) unit and the Kaziranga Forest Rescue team early Sunday morning.

The calf was found in a severely stressed condition, having been separated from his mother during the sudden rise in water levels on the fringes of the national park. The MVS team, led by CWRC veterinarian Dr. Daoharu Baro, reached the area in response to an emergency call from the Kaziranga Forest Authority. Dr Baro examined the calf and decided that he should be transported to CWRC for his betterment.

The calf is currently under close observation at the centre’s Large Animal Nursery. He has been responding well to oral rehydration.

Rhino Calf 2: Baghmari area, Bagori Range

This female rhino calf, about five to six months old, was found stranded in a flood-hit household in Baghmari. She was rescued by a Kaziranga Forest Rescue team led by veterinarian Dr. Debabrata Phukan and - given her condition - transported to CWRC for stabilisation and care.

Rhino Calf 3: Mihimukh area, Kohora Range

This male rhino calf, five to six months old was rescued by a Kaziranga Forest Rescue team as he was struggling for survival near the inundated Interpretation Centre building at Mihimukh, in the Central Forest Range of Kaziranga.

CWRC MVS veterinarian Dr. Samshul Ali conducted the rescue operation with the forest department team. The calf was transported to the nearest road by boat and later brought to CWRC for further care.

Rhino Calf 4: Agoratoli Range

A male rhino calf, nearly two months old, was rescued by frontline forest staff of the Agoratoli Range and brought to CWRC Sunday evening.

baby rhino rescued by boat in assam india floods

“The four rhino calves admitted today are all stressed due to the trauma they have undergone, what with being caught in the floodwaters and separated from their mothers,” said Dr. Panjit Basumatary, lead veterinarian at CWRC. “They are being provided the requisite care and are under round-the-clock observation in our Large Animal Nursery.”

The IFAW-WTI team at CWRC team handled 23 rescue cases in one day, covering both the south and north banks of the flooded Brahmaputra River. This is day two of the second phase of Kaziranga flooding, and there are reports of 85 percent of the park being submerged.

The next morning - Rhino Calf 5: Na Jan area, Bagori Range (below)

Just the next morning, another female rhino calf had taken shelter in the backyard of a household of flood affected Na Jan village near Bagori, the Western Range Forest of Kaziranga National Park. In a joint effort by our CWRC rescue team and the Kaziranga Forest Authority, this little gem was welcomed into our care on Monday.

baby rhino carried by truck from the floods in assam india

Rhino calf rescued in July meets nine older rhinos under rehab

Meanwhile, the rhino calf rescued in the first round of floods (July 2017) this season has stabilized and was introduced to the older rhino residents.

Initially kept in the paddock adjacent to the large animal nursery with a keeper in charge, the rhino was introduced to the nine older rhinos last week, eight of which were rescued in last year’s flood. He has bonded with one female rhino calf and spends most of his time with her, following her tracks like he would with his mother.

The calf initially avoided exploring or associating with the elder rhinos, but he did feel secure among the youngsters. Interestingly, he has started to supplement his milk feeding by nibbling on fresh grass alongside the elder rhinos, and most important of all, he has been trying to defecate at the same place – happy wild rhino behavior and a good sign of adaptation to rehab!

This year's flood is believed to be even worse than the one that hit last year. The IFAW- WTI Wildlife Rescue Centre had an influx of eight rhino calves over two weeks of flooding last year. With a total of five arrivals this season, of which four arrived in one day, there are now 14 rhino calves needing our support at CWRC over the next several years of careful rehabilitation.


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