Image: Escaped Rhino
Anupam Nath  /  AP
Staff of the Manas Wildlife Sanctuary chase a one-horned rhino on Sunday near the Indian town of Kalcheni. The rhino was later tranquilized and moved back to the sanctuary.
updated 9/16/2008 11:48:50 AM ET 2008-09-16T15:48:50

Forest officials in India's remote northeast tranquilized and captured a rare one-horned rhinoceros and returned it to a wildlife park two weeks after it escaped.

The 1.2-ton adult male was one of two rhinoceroses recently transferred to Assam state's Manas National Park in a bid to repopulate the refuge after its rhino population was wiped out by poachers and a separatist insurgency.

More than 100 wildlife officials tracked the animal using its radio collar after it strayed from the park on Sept. 1, but could not capture it, fearing that if they tranquilized it in the marshy area it could drown.

"We were waiting for an opportune place to tranquilize it," said Mohan Chandra Brahma, a wildlife warden.

The rhino was tranquilized late Sunday and a crane was used to haul it onto a truck, he said, adding that it was released into the wild on Monday.

M.C. Malakar, a senior Assam wildlife official, said it was possible the rhino was trying to find its way back to the Pobitora park, more than 100 miles away, from where it was taken five months ago, the Indian Express newspaper reported.

Assam is home to more than 2,000 of the world's estimated 3,000 one-horned rhinoceroses.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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