Assam, northern India

 

(One-horned rhinoceros)

The Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis), also called the greater one-horned rhinoceros, is listed as a vulnerable species. It is primarily found in north-eastern India's Assam and in protected areas in the Terai of Nepal, where populations are confined to the riverine grasslands in the foothills of the Himalayas.

Although it once ranged throughout the entire stretch of the these plains, excessive hunting reduced the natural habitat drastically. Today, about 3,000 rhinos live in the wild, 2,000 of which are found in India's Assam alone.

In February 2006, for the first time in India, the Assam Forest Department and Wildlife Trust of India - International Fund for Animal Welfare (WTI-IFAW) translocated a hand-raised rhino calf to Manas, marking the beginning of an ambitious project to reintroduce rhinos to Manas, where the species was driven to local extinction by poaching. The Rhino Rehabilitation Project aims to gradually repopulate rhinos in Manas, by relocating and rehabilitating orphaned or displaced hand-raised rhinos from Kaziranga National Park. This effort to repopulate rhinos in Manas is supported by the Bodoland Territorial Council and the Assam Forest Department. 

Kaziranga National Park largely falls within the Brahmaputra River flood plains and gets inundated annually in the rainy season. The floods take a heavy toll on wildlife including rhinos. In addition to death by drowning and displacement on being washed away, increased rhino poaching has also been associated with these floods as the escaping animals are highly vulnerable when they move out of the park in search of higher ground. More details...


 

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