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."
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 2 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
- 3 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 War is war: Why I stand with Israel
- 5 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber reach almost £154,000 on eBay
Supermoon 2014: When and why will the moon look bigger and brighter this summer?
Gaza-Israel conflict: The terrible price children are paying for Israel’s war with Hamas
Online trolls target alleged rape victim Jada, by copying how she appeared in video of attack
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
£50000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...
competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a FTSE 100 organisation are u...
£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...