Hi Everyone!!! I believe the previous post in which I had written about spotting elephants during our jeep ride, gave many viewers the doubt why I hadn’t written about the one-horned rhinos first, as they are considered the flag-bearers of Kaziranga. As I was completely mesmerised by the elephants and the caring and protective elders in their family, I chose to write that first. So, now this post is going to be on the Rhinos!
When you inform someone you had just been to Assam, their immediate question would be whether you visited the Kaziranga National Park. If the answer is a yes, then they’d further ask you if you were able to spot the most popular species of Kaziranga, the one horned rhino.
The One Horned Rhino is the flagship species of Kaziranga. We weren’t lucky enough to spot the royal Bengal tiger, but did see the one horned rhinos during our elephant safari at the Central or Kohora range and at the Western or Bagori range, during our jeep safari. Later, we came to know that the best time to see the tigers was by taking the afternoon jeep safari in the Western range, when they come out of their hideouts. Since we had our jeep safari immediately after breakfast, we couldn’t spot the tiger. Also, the day we left the reserve and headed back to Guwahati, the capital city of Assam, we stopped at Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, which is around 40 minutes from Guwahati, where we could again see a rhino.
There was a board with info on the major aspects of the reserve, at a viewpoint in the Western range…
Kaziranga National Park, located in the Indian state of Assam, has the world’s largest population of one horned rhinoceros. As per their 2022 estimate, the reserve is home to 2613 of them.
Let’s start with the elephant ride…
There are two timings available for the early morning elephant safari at the Central range, one at 5:30 am and the other at 6:30 am. We chose the 6:30am ride at both the Central and Western ranges.
Besides the one horned rhino, you can see a large group of Sambar Deer in the pic below…
The friendly elephant trainers who are locals and mostly from areas surrounding the reserve, sit on the front of the elephant and accompany you throughout the ride. They are the first ones to point out if any animal is going to fall in sight ahead, so that you’re ready to get the perfect shot. I guess by taking new visitors on rides each day, they know by now that we all want a pic of us on the elephant during the ride, so if you pass on your phone to the trainer on the elephant near you, he would gladly click you a great photo. Similarly, the trainer on another elephant clicked a photo of us. They were careful on not getting too close to the animals, but at the same time, they made sure we got a great view of the them.
While moving from the guest house where we were staying, to another part of Kaziranga, there were boards which had info about the reserve and quotes on how we should save animals, and their importance.
One such quote which I felt was very apt to the current situation was-
“SHOOT US WITH CAMERAS, NOT GUNS”
Its sounds like a simple quote, but carries a crucial meaning. The animals are just asking us to click pics of them and not get into poaching, in their own habitats, were they peacefully reside.
Talking about poaching, the Kaziranga National Park reached a significant milestone in the year 2022, by having zero cases of poaching. Kudos to the management of the reserve for this! This was the first time after 45 years they achieved such a landmark, noting that 1977 had been the last time.
“The highest number of poaching, as per his shared data, was in 2013 and 2014 at 27 each.
In 2015 and 2016, the number of rhinos killed by poachers was 17 and 18, respectively, which subsequently declined to two in 2020 and 2021 and zero in 2022.”Courtesy- https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/how-assam-achieved-zero-rhino-poaching-in-kaziranga-in-2022-3706195
To me, the one horned rhinos looked as sombre and calm animals, who prefer to stay in their own habitats, but during our jeep safari at the Western range, our driver mentioned that severe fights do happen between rhinos, and as a result, the animals end up losing their horns, which is their identity. Further more, tourists visit Kaziranga from different regions to see the one horned rhinos, as this reserve houses the largest number of such rhinos in the world.
Just before the elephant safari was about to end, we spotted someone special ‘chilling’ in a grassy pond😊…
Yes, it was one of the one horned rhinos!
Upon seeing us visitors, the rhino got up from the pond,
You should definitely not miss the video below, which is the best part of this write-up, where you can see the rhino getting up from the pond, giving the tourists a look, and finally walking away 😄. I realised that rhinos too, can have a slip, if they’re not careful while walking…
Whenever the rhino lifted its head to see who its visitors were, I felt the animal gave us a smile…
The rhino then walked away after seeing all the elephants with people at its area…
Later, during our jeep safari in the afternoon, the same day, we caught sight of a mother and baby rhino grazing…
Upon seeing the baby rhino with its mother, just like how the baby elephants had been with their moms ( which I had written about in my previous post), my dad and I started wondering where the baby rhino’s father would be. Then, we spotted a third rhino behind the mom-baby duo in the pic below, and decided that he’d be the father rhino. 😄
Overall, it was definitely an enjoyable experience to be surrounded by greenery and mountains during the elephant safari. I hope that the cases of poaching stop not only at Kaziranga, but also in all other animal reserves. LET ANIMALS LIVE TOO!!!!
In future write-ups, I’ll be sharing pics of other animals we saw during our stay at Kaziranga and of our visit to Assam’s neighbouring state, Meghalaya, so do stay tuned for more!!
Do let me know in the comments if you liked this post!!
LIKE, SHARE, COMMENT AND SUBSCRIBE FOR MORE SUCH POSTS!!!