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The Anatomy Of A Second Chance

The Anatomy Of A Second Chance

Author: Subhamoy Bhattacharjee

As 2014 drew to a close, the Kaziranga and Manas National Parks in Northeast India were witness to some holiday season excitement of a different kind: a translocation project, unprecedented in India, involving the capture, transport and release of 19 eastern swamp deer from Kaziranga to Manas. This is a deconstruction of that pioneering operation.

The capture boma (enclosure) is constructed at Solmara Beel in the Central Range of Kaziranga National Park.

Photo: Rathin Barman.

A team of experts from the Assam Forest Department and IFAW-WTI planned the capture project and renowned conservation and animal welfare biologist Markus Hofmeyr was flown in from South Africa to support the exercise.

Photo: Rathin Barman.

Members of the translocation team convert ordinary trucks into customised animal transportation vehicles.

Photo: Subhamoy Bhattacharjee.

These are then backed up to a funnel-like enclosure in a corner of the capture boma.

Photo: Subhamoy Bhattacharjee.

The 19 eastern swamp deer that are to be translocated are captured.

Photo: Subhamoy Bhattacharjee.

Using movable screens, the animals are gradually herded towards the funnel in two lots, and thence into the transportation vehicles.

Photo: Subhamoy Bhattacharjee.

Wildlife vets and biologists from WTI and the College of Veterinary Science, Guwahati, are in attendance through the entire operation.

Photo: Subhamoy Bhattacharjee.

The deer are transported overnight from Kaziranga to Manas National Park via NH-37.

Photo: Subhamoy Bhattacharjee.

The swamp deer are released into a corresponding specially prepared boma in Manas. The enclosure was earlier flooded and short grass from surrounding areas transplanted into it to ensure the herd’s well-being. It is secured by a two-line power fence installed over a Bombax barrier to keep leopards at bay. 

Photo: Subhamoy Bhattacharjee.

The deer will be kept in the boma for a few months, then released into the park in batches. Some will remain in the enclosure longer to facilitate breeding.

Photo: Subhamoy Bhattacharjee.

First appeared in: Sanctuary Asia, Vol. XXXV No. 1, February 2015.

 
 
 

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