Aug 27, 2015
Bareilly: In a first, a rhino and herd of elephants have been spotted in Pilibhit Tiger Reserve (PTR). The image of the rhino has been captured by cameras installed in the forests while field staff spotted the herd of elephants, numbering about 12. Forest officials said the animals might have come to PTR from the adjoining Shuklaphata Sanctuary in Nepal.
Confirming the matter, divisional forest officer (DFO), PTR, Kailesh Prakash, said, “This is the first time that a rhino and nearly 12 elephants have been spotted in PTR. The cameras installed in the forest clicked the pictures of the rhino while the field staff saw a herd of elephants two days back. The elephants were spotted at Labbaghagga (on the other side of Sharda river). As PTR is connected to Shuklaphata Sanctuary in Nepal, it appears that the animals have come here from that country.”
Elated with the sighting of rhino, chief conservator of forest MP Singh said, “We are happy that a rhino has been spotted in our forest. Even the state government is planning a ‘rhino rehabilitation project’ for PTR, under which a few rhinos will be translocated to the area. The project is still under consideration of the state government.”
“PTR is a tiger dominated area. During monsoon, animals have a tendency to wander away, and these elephants seem to have come here from nearby forests,” Singh added.
Asked if the forest department would adopt measures to protect the rhino and the elephants in PTR, the DFO said, “We do not have any plans as of now. However, as the climate of PTR is similar to Shuklaphata Sanctuary and food is available in abundance, the rhino and the elephants will prefer to stay here.”
Besides, many endangered wild animals like cheetal, hog deer, sambar, barking deer, sloth bear, leopard, wild pig and the critically endangered swamp deer, hispid hare, four-horned antelope (chausingha) are found in Pilibhit Tiger Reserve. According to the tiger census 2014, there are 28 tigers in PTR. Also, more than eight tiger cubs in Mala, Barahi and Haripur ranges were camera trapped. The age of these cubs ranges between two months and one year. “The World Wide Fund (WWF) India is currently conducting a census of tigers in the forest, and we will be able to share the exact number of cubs and tigers after we will receive the report from WWF,” said Prakash.
As posted in Timesofindia.indiatimes.com