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DNA sampling of one-horned rhinos to be done in UP

Bahraich, March 23 (IANS) A Rhino census will be carried out in Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary in Bahraich district in Uttar Pradesh, based on DNA sampling of the horns.

The Rhino Security Assistant Committee (RSAC) will create a genetic profile from the horns of the rhinos and generate a unique ID.

After the completion of this process, the approximate number of rhinos will also be known. The move comes amid growing population of rhinos in Dudhwa and the need for rehabilitation of the surplus animals.

A latest survey has confirmed the presence of at least 46 one-horned rhinos in the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve.

For relocation of the one-horned rhinos, areas of Sujauli and Trans-Gerua are considered suitable.

The DNA-based report will also help in tracking the cross-country movement of rhinos.

A wildlife expert said that the move will also help check smuggling of rhinos as DNA records will be able to identify the animal.

Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Katerniaghat wildlife sanctuary Akash Deep Badhawan said, “Cooperation of Nepal authorities and Border Security Force will also be taken in the process.”

This was decided in a high-level meeting on Wednesday held under the aegis of Rhinoceros Conservation Cooperation (RCC) between officials of India and Nepal which borders the sanctuary and is part of a special corridor for movement of rhinos between the two countries.