India One-Horn Rhino Census
(AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
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By Anupam Nath, AP

The rare one-horned rhinos that roam Kaziranga National Park in northeastern India have been increasing in numbers, thanks to stronger police efforts against poaching and artificial mud platforms that keep the animals safe from floods.

Those successful conservation efforts helped raise the park’s rhino population by 200 in the past four years, census figures released by park authorities this week showed.

Nearly 400 men using 50 domesticated elephants and drones scanned the park’s 500 square kilometers (190 square miles) territory in March and found the rhinos’ numbers increased more than 12% — neutralizing a severe threat to the animals from poaching gangs and monsoon flooding.

“From the last count in 2018, the number of the rare one-horned rhinoceros at our park has risen by 200. The number of this species at the Kaziranga now stands at 2,613,” park Director Jatindra Sarma said.

Forest officers count one-horned rhinoceros’ during a rhino census in Kaziranga national park, in the northeastern state of Assam, India, Sunday, March 27, 2022.  (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)

“Poaching has declined in recent years with only one rhino being killed so far this year,” S. Gogoi, a wildlife official, said.

Poachers kill rhinoceroses to take their horns — which are believed to have aphrodisiac properties and are in great demand in the clandestine markets in Southeast Asia.

Monsoon flooding has also killed animals of several species in Kaziranga, which is spread across the floodplains of the Brahmaputra River in Assam state. Authorities have built high mud platforms where rhinos take refuge with guards providing them fodder to survive during the monsoon season.

A one-horned Rhinoceros walks with a calf at the Kaziranga national park, in the northeastern state of Assam, India, Saturday March 26, 2022.  (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)

A police task force inducted last year is armed with weapons as sophisticated as those carried by the poachers, too, said G.P. Singh, a top police officer heading the force. Wildlife rangers and security guards carried outdated guns while protecting the park in the past.

Poaching in Kaziranga peaked in 2013 and 2014 with 27 rhinos killed each year. It came down to six in 2017, seven in 2018, three in 2019, two in 2020 and one in 2021.

A forest officer stands guard during a census drive to count one-horned rhinoceros’ in Kaziranga national park, in the northeastern state of Assam, India, Saturday, March 26, 2022.  (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)

Kaziranga, more than a century old and a UNESCO heritage site, is also a breeding ground for elephants, wild water buffalo and swamp deer, and conservation efforts have also helped increase its tiger population.

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16 COMMENTS

  1. Outdated guns in the past? All the rifles I saw in those photos were SMLE’s. What were they carrying before? Brown Bess?

    • I had to look this up (SMLE) because I really didn’t know. I did not know that the Lee-Enfield was the primary British Army rifle starting in 1895!! And was their primary gun up until 1957!!
      These century-old long guns helped to defeat the Soviets in Afghanistan. Old guns that are maintained and get refurbished, are just as deadly as any new gun purchased in a gun store.

      But I disagree with the Libertarians. I think part of government’s responsibility is to protect the wildlife and the ecology of a country. And probably the best Protectors of Wildlife are the people who live closest to that wild life. I know animal photography tourism is Big Business in the third world. So it would behoove the locals to protect the animal population. And cull that population with private hunters when necessary.

      Unfortunately when the Left is running the government those folks are anti-human. Very much like Adolf Hitler. Who Loved animals and hated people. And that is when things turn bad for the locals and the rest of us.

      • Cull the poachers.
        Feed them to big cats and gators.
        Or
        Yes controversial, sell permits to hunt poachers. Okay okay only with tranquilizer darts. But a .458 handy in case one charges.

    • That’s what you guys need down there; a ‘rhino census’ followed by some ‘affirmative action’ with updated weaponry. Or at least a rousing elephant charge.

  2. What exactle has the fate of Rhinos in India got to do with gun control in the USA?? You will also notice that in the accompanying ‘pics’ a some of the Rhinos have actually been de-horned anyway which makes them less of a target for poachers anyway. The ‘Rhino horn is NOT a nessessity for the survival of the specdies so why is this not done in Africa more often? Rhino are among the easier of wild and threatened species to be semi-domesticated. If Rhino Horn is so highly thought of so why can Rhino not be de-horned by darting and by considering them as an ‘agricultural’ asset? Rhino horn is actually HAIR and regrows over time.
    Why also cannot those ELEPHANT ‘tiuskers’ be treated in the same way? There is actually considerable evidence that African elephants through the pressures of ‘Natural Selection’ are ‘short cutting’ the evolutionary process and developing much smaller tusks anyway.
    In the moral sense there is absolutely noi reason as to why many, many threatened animal species cannot be ‘agriculturalised’ if they are worth so much on the markets.

    Is there really any moral difference between keeping say a tiger to slaughter for it’s body parts or to provide idiots with trophy hunting opportunity [at up to $US 40 grand a time!!] than to slaughter a cow for steaks as long as during it’s life it is treated humanely.
    There is much fuss made about certain peoples eating dogs though to reasoning escapes me. Once again what is the difference in the moral sense between keeping dogs for food and keeping pigs of cows or sheep, or chicken? Though one can, of course, take issue with the circumstances under which they are kept those circumstances are a seperate issue.

  3. Oh.

    I read the link as “ Men with guns and mud rounds…” and clicked to read about this novel ammo I’d never heard of.

    • I keep hoping one of them will be the idiot manchild up here in Ottawa… how eminently fitting in every way that would be.

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