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India and Nepal team up to rescue flooded rhinos

05 / 09 / 2017, Mongabaycom News

The devastating monsoons hitting South Asia this year haven’t just affected the region’s human populations. At least 15 greater one-horned rhinoceroses (Rhinoceros unicornis) have been swept across the Indo-Nepal border from Nepal’s Chitwan National Park to the adjoining Valmiki Tiger Reserve in the Indian state of Bihar, a distance of some 100 kilometers (62 miles) by water. Two of these ended up being carried further still, to the Sohagi Barwa Wildlife Sanctuary and Khushinagar Forest Division in Uttar Pradesh. Monitoring them closely is a mammoth team of about 300 forest personnel from Valmiki, joined by 50 Nepalese forest and security officers. After more than twelve days of searching — much of that spent on elephant-back scouring water-logged forest — five rhinos had been rescued and released back to Chitwan as of August 27, including a two-year-old male rescued on August 26. The bodies of two dead rhinos were also found. The arrival of rhinos continues, with one more sighted in Valmiki last week.  “Five more, though in Nepalese territory, are just across the fence and may simply step into our side anytime, thus keeping the rescue team on tenterhooks,” Valmiki Field Director Subramani Chandrasekar told Mongabay. “Never before had so many rhinos arrived from across the borders in such quick succession and this is the first successful collaboration of the two countries in saving the rare endangered species,” said Chandrasekar, who is supervising the overall rescue operations. Extensive flood damages made it more difficult than usual for Indian authorities to…

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