India’s first multi-species animal rehabilitation centre adjoining a national park turned 10 on Monday after giving a new lease of life to more than 1,600 animals.
The Centre of Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) near Kaziranga National Park has another first – as nursery for animals reintroduced in wildlife preserves from where they had been wiped out.
CRWR was established on this day in 2002 by the Assam forest department and the International Fund for Animal Welfare-Wildlife Trust of India (IFAW-WTI). The 10th anniversary is scheduled for Tuesday.
In these 10 years, the centre has nurtured back animals from elephants, bears, rhinos and tigers to hoolock gibbons and porcupines besides reptiles and birds such as Bengal floricans and greater adjutant storks. Among its ‘patients’ were a calf injured in conflict with people, a rhino orphaned by poachers, an adult tiger gored by rhino and a traumatised leopard trapped in an urban house.
“CWRC addresses cases of wild animals in distress, be it due to natural causes such as floods, or even man-made causes including conflicts. Assam has set numerous exemplary wildlife conservation and welfare milestones for the entire country to follow, and this centre is one of those,” Assam’s chief wildlife warden Suresh Chand said.
CWRC was strategically placed targeting the issue of river Brahmaputra displacing and killing hundreds of Kaziranga animals every year during floods.
“CWRC caters to animals from all across the Northeast, but the floods have brought most animals under its care. This year, the centre save more than 100 animals,” Kaziranga field director Sanjib Kumar Bora said.
CWRC’s satellite mobile veterinary service units have also attended to some 3000 cases of animals in distress elsewhere in the Northeast. Dead on arrival and those beyond help make up a significant chunk of these.
“The centre has achieved pioneering work in the rehabilitation of endangered wildlife, including a number of notable firsts – the first orphan Asian elephants returned to the wild and the first documented release of hand-reared clouded leopards,” IFAW animal rescue director Ian Robinson said.
Among CWRC’s achievements are reintroducing hand-reared rhino calves to Manas National Park, a World Heritage Site like Kaziranga under a programme that began in 2006. Displaced elephant calves, orphaned clouded leopards and Asiatic black bear cubs have been hand-raised and released in Manas landscape.