Greater One-Horned Rhino, Kaziranga

Endangered Greater One-Horned Rhinos become extra vulnerable when the waters of the Brahmaputra River flood Kaziranga National Park. The annual deluge forces the rhinos to move toward higher ground near highways, where they are easily located and killed by poachers.

This year, wildlife officials have already posted forest guards at vulnerable areas along Kaziranga’s border. Although the rainfall has been lighter than usual, nothing is being left to chance when it comes to protecting Greater One-Horned Rhinos and other inhabitants of the park.

It is also hoped that Kaziranga’s first “floating anti-poaching camp” will discourage poachers from using the Brahmaputra to move in and out of the park. The small floating vessel, made by Assam’s P. Das & Company, accommodates four rangers, and includes a lavatory and cooking facilities. Rangers will use the boat to patrol the Brahmaputra River.

Kaziranga National Park was unfortunately the location of a shockingly cruel rhino slaughter on January 19, 2009. Poachers shot a mother rhino, and killed her calf. As she lay breathing, but unable to escape, the killers hacked out her horn.

36 painful hours later, and without the availability of veterinary assistance, she died. The incident sparked an unprecedented public protest against the government’s apathy.

Current population of the Greater One-Horned Rhino

According to the International Rhino Foundation:

… greater one-horned rhino numbers have recovered from fewer than 200 earlier in the 20th century to as many as 2,850 today. However, even with population increases, poaching pressure has remained high in both India and Nepal.

Unfortunately, rhino poaching has now reached a 15-year high, due to insatiable demand for rhino horn in China and other Asian countries, where the illegal trade in endangered species products continues to flourish.

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