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Gifted rhino pair set out for China from Chitwan

- RAMESH K. POUDEL, ANUP OJHA, CHITWAN / KATHMANDU

Jul 11, 2018-

The pair of one-horned rhinoceros that the government had pledged to present to the people of China were finally transported to Kathmandu on Tuesday.

The two calves, one male and one female-- Bhadra and Rupasi, were put in wooden boxes and loaded in a truck before they set on the first leg of their long journey. A small farewell function was also organised in Sauraha which was attended by conservationists, local representatives and the officials of Chitwan National Park.

Bed Kumar Dhakal, the park’s chief conservation officer, said Bhadra and Rupasi would be flown to China on a cargo plane on Thursday.

The pair will be accompanied by two veterinary doctors and three caretakers.

The two rhino calves, both aged two years, were captured from Khoriya Muhan and Sukhibhar areas inside the park in April. The park authority had built a special pen in Sauraha for them.

“We picked the calves because transporting them would be more convenient as opposed to adult rhinos. They have received special care and attention from the park’s caretakers. We wanted to ensure that both calves were in the pink of their health when they move to their new home in China,” Dhakal said.

Though the government had planned to send the rhinos to China ahead of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s trip to Beijing earlier last month, the idea did not pan out due to technical difficulties.

Everything has been sorted out since.

Officials said the rhinos will be well on their way to their new home now.

“A technical team is arriving from China to receive the rhinos. A special send-off ceremony is being planned for Thursday,” said Laxman Prasad Poudyal of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation.

Nepal had pledged to present at least two pairs of one-horned rhinos to the people of China in 2016, when former Forest Minister Agni Sapkota had visited the northern neighbouring country.  

As promised the Nepal government is planning to present another rhino pair to China sometime next year.

Nepal has previously gifted rhinos to Austria, Bangladesh, India, Japan, Myanmar, Pakistan, Thailand and the UK.

Published: 11-07-2018 07:49

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