Rhinos reach record number
Monday 12 April 1999
Elsewhere in Assam, too, where the rhinos are less rigorously protected from poachers, the numbers are up. Saturday's census at Kaziranga found 1,649 rhinos, while the rest of the state has another 120. A senior forest official said proudly: "This is the best figure Assam can boast of since the animal census started in 1908."
Thirty years ago, rhinos seemed on the brink of extermination in the park, the principal reserve for one-horned rhinos in the world. Poached mainly for their horn, which is highly valued in Chinese traditional medicine, their numbers in 1966 were down to 366. Levels of protection unmatched in any other park in the subcontinent led to a recovery, with 1,229 animals counted in 1991. But in 1993 numbers fell to 1,164.
Kaziranga is in the southern flood plain of the Brahmaputra River, and in last year's monsoon flooding was so severe that most of the animals had to take refuge in unprotected areas, crossing a road used by lorries. There were fears that the park's wildlife, which includes tiger, elephants, deer and wild pigs as well as rhino, might be decimated. An international alert galvanised supporters around the world, and now the park is celebrating a change in its fortunes.
Much of the success of Kaziranga is due not to funding but to its rangers, who patrol 24 hours a day. Last year, poachers killed 34 rhinos across the state of Assam, while in Kaziranga at least four poachers were killed by forest guards. A reputation for ruthlessness has undoubtedly aided the guards' efforts.
"In the past we used to arrest poachers and after a few days they were out again on bail," one forest official said. "But now if we find anybody inside the park with arms, we just shoot them."
- 1 Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
- 2 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Dad attempts revenge on teenage daughter, plan backfires spectacularly
- 5 Ball pool for adults opens in London
Isis 'throw man off a building for homosexual affair' and beat him to death when he survives
Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
Boris Johnson claims porn-obsessed Islamic jihadists are 'literally w*****s'
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Ball pool for adults opens in London
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...
£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...