Monthly Archives: December 2014

Swam Deer Translocation 2014

Swamp Deers Translocated Successfully from Kaziranga to Manas

For the first time in India, a mass capture of Eastern swamp deer (Rucervus duvaucelii ranjitsinhi) for relocation unfolded in Kaziranga National Park since 9th December, 2014. Popularly known as Barasingha, the entire population of this sub species of Eastern Swamp Deer is currently found only in Kaziranga. To save them from a point of no return, 19 Eastern swamp deer were captured in Kaziranga NP to be relocated to Manas National Park for augmentation. A team of experts from Assam Forest Department (AFD) , Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and College of Veterinary Science, Khanapara, Guwahati Assam monitored the entire process that is part of the ongoing project supported by ONGC.  The capture process was initiated on the 9th December in presence of Dr. Markus Hofmyr of SANParks, South Africa and other experts. Mr. M. K. Ranjitsinh, Chairman, WTI and a pioneer of wildlife conservation in India, in whose honour the species is named, was also present on the 9th December, 2014 when the entire capture process was initiated at Kaziranga.

The animals are released in a specially prepared boma in Manas which is secured by a two-line power fence installed over a bombax barrier to deter leopards from entering the enclosure on Saturday afternoon, 27th December 2014. The boma was also flooded and short grass was brought from nearby areas for transplantation to ensure the well-being of the herd. The deer are mass captured at Kaziranga National Park on Friday afternoon (26th December 2014) and transported to Manas National Park travelling more than 400 kilometers via NH-31.

Expressing great happiness on the occasion, Sri Rakibul Hussain, Hon’ble Minister, Environment & Forests, Govt. of Assam said, “This is a great moment in the history of wildlife conservation in India when we have shown to the world a successful mass capture of Eastern Swamp Deer for the first time in the country. I congratulate the entire team for their commendable efforts for past twenty days.”

“The Assam Forest Department, WTI and the College of Veterinary Science, Khanapara, Guwahati teams worked as a cohesive unit and ensured that the entire exercise progressed smoothly. It is a moment of great pride for the Assam Forest Department and we are happy to be a part of this historic experiment,” said R.P Agarwalla, Chief Wildlife Warden, Assam.

In 2010, AFD and WTI collaborated with Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) to launch a three-year long ecological research programme – the ‘Eastern Swamp Deer Conservation Project’ in Kaziranga National Park. The aim of the project was to understand the ecology of the Eastern swamp deer and develop management strategies for conservation of their last surviving population in India.

Findings on diet, genetic constitution and behaviour provided useful insight for the scientific management of the sub-species in Kaziranga, as well as propel the project into its current second phase of creating a second home for the Eastern swamp deer in Manas National Park.  The support of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC) was also crucial in making this effort a success story. “Environmental management & sustainability including issues of climate change are of utmost concern to ONGC. Considering the urgency of saving endangered Eastern Swamp Deer species, ONGC has undertaken a specially designed CSR project in association with WTI and Deptt. of Forest, Government of Assam to help save the species from extinction. Today’s achievement is yet another noteworthy milestone in this long journey.” said Mr. Desh Deepak Misra, Director (HR), ONGC.                                         

“ONGC is fully committed towards protection of the environment and the same is reflected in its actions and programmes driven by its comprehensive policies. We have been privileged to actively contribute for ecological conservation and promotion. Our association in the efforts for saving endangered species of Eastern Swamp Deer is a reflection of our commitment towards the same.” said Mr. Alok Misra, Chief CSR, ONGC.

Post-capture, these deer for the first few months will be kept in the boma and would later be released in the park in batches. Some of them would be kept in the boma for breeding purposes. Since this would be the source population for Manas National Park, stringent arrangements have been made to ensure their welfare. Renowned conservation and animal welfare biologist, Dr. Markus Hofmyr was flown in specially from South Africa to support the capture exercise. Experts from WTI and the Assam Forest Department will also monitor the Eastern swamp deer population in Kaziranga NP to see if translocation has any impact on the population there.

Repopulating Manas NP with Eastern swamp deer is yet another step towards fulfilling India’s commitment to UNESCO in restoring the pride of Manas NP. Four years of hard work by WTI and the Assam Forest Department with the invaluable support of ONGC resulted in this pioneering achievement today. This is a turning point in the conservation history of Eastern swamp deer in India.

Capture Boma at Kaziranga on 26th December, 2014 evening:

ESD_Deer Capture KNP 01

Transport in especially designed interiors:

ESD _Deer Capture KNP 02

Release at Manas on 27th December, 2014:

ESD_Deer Release Manas 01

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