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."
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
Look beyond the usual shows for the best festive telly
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
The battle for control of Stieg Larsson's £30m legacy
Ten best places to live in the UK: Hart in Hampshire takes top spot
French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'
David Cameron takes his biggest gamble yet as he gets tough on Europe over immigration
Burglar steals video tapes of child abuse, hands them into police
Paul Walker's daughter Meadow attends Justin Bieber Believe premiere
- 1 Tim Sherwood challenges Daniel Levy to set out vision for Tottenham Hotspur’s future
- 2 French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'
- 3 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 #Teamnigella: It’s the only side to be on
- 5 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- < Previous
- Next >
Negotiable: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: Teacher of English - S...
£59999 - £80001 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: A Top 10 firm in ...
£50000 - £75000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Harrington Starr: Project Manage...
Negotiable: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: Year 5 Teacher - Gilli...