Jalah, Feb 4 � Five elephant calves relocated from the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) for reintegration with wild herds in the Manas National Park have been released inside the park.
The calves, one female and four males between the age of three and five years, were rescued under various circumstances from different parts of Assam.
All of these calves were separated from their natal herds � two were victims of conflicts with people, one displaced during floods while the remaining two were found in tea gardens. They were admitted to the CWRC situated near the Kaziranga National Park for rehabilitation as they could not be reunited with their herds.
The elephant calves reached the release site on Wednesday for the initiation of their in situ acclimatisation after a 12-hour journey, monitored by CWRC veterinarians and animal keepers. The calves were released in the wild at the Daimari beat.
At Manas, the calves will undergo a prolonged habituation process under close supervision of the Forest Department officials. Their behaviour as individuals and their interactions with each other as well as other wild elephants will be observed and recorded during this period as they grow independent of their keeper.
Once the calves completely detach from their keeper and return to the wild, they will be monitored through radio collars.
Expressing happiness over the release of the calves, BTC deputy chief Kampa Borgoyary, who is in charge of Forest, said �We are glad that the IFAW-WTI has brought the elephants to Manas. We would like to present Manas to the world community and we are sure that wildlife enthusiasts will love to hear the news of this elephant move to Manas. We understand that some people have apprehensions on this move and we acknowledge their fear of possible increase in human-elephant conflicts. But we are implementing measures to mitigate these conflicts.�
Ian Robinson, emergency, relief director of IFAW, said, �We are very pleased to see these elephants walking in the forests of the Manas National Park. This is a vital step towards their reintegration to the wild but there are still many hurdles to overcome.
Vivek Menon, executive director of the WTI, said that Manas has always been an area of high conservation priority as indicated by the epithets it holds � a national park, a tiger reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Surviving a rough phase during the civil unrest, Manas is now regaining its fame with proactive initiatives by the Government and the people.
The move is considered to be a crucial step in the rehabilitation of these calves in the wild being implemented by the Assam Forest Department and the International Fund for Animal Welfare � Wildlife Trust of India (IFAW-WTI) with the support of the Bodoland Territorial Council.