India floods kill threatened rhinos

Jul 09, 2012
Tourists on elephants photograph a rhinoceros with her calf at the Kaziranga National Park in India’s northeastern state of Assam on February 21. Devastating floods in northeast India have killed around 600 animals in the region's largest wildlife park, including more than a dozen threatened one-horned rhinos, officials said Monday.

Devastating floods in northeast India have killed around 600 animals in the region's largest wildlife park, including more than a dozen threatened one-horned rhinos, officials said Monday.

"Most of the animals either drowned or were mown down by speeding vehicles when they tried to flee the heavy flooding," said S.K. Bora, director of 430-square-kilometre (165-square-mile) Kaziranga National Park in Assam state.

"The water level is now receding, but the vast majority of animals that fled the park are yet to return," he told AFP by telephone.

According to Bora, various species of deer accounted for more than 500 of the animal victims, which also included 14 and two elephant calves.

Assam has been the focus of severe regional flooding in recent weeks, triggered by that caused the Brahmaputra river to burst its banks, inundating large areas of the state.

Nearly 130 people have been killed and six million displaced by the , according to official figures.

Kaziranga is home to the world's single largest population of one-horned rhinos. A 2012 census in the park counted 2,290 of the rhinos, out of a of 3,300.

The species declined to near extinction in the early 1900s, and is currently listed as "vulnerable" by the International Union for .

Kaziranga has fought a sustained battle against rhino poachers, who kill the animals for their horns, which fetch huge prices in some Asian countries where they are deemed to have aphrodisiac qualities.

Assam Forests Minister Rockybul Hussain voiced concerns that poachers would prey on those rhinos that had been forced out of the protective ring of the park by the flooding.

Explore further: Genetic study shows major impact of climate change on Antarctic fur seals

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

S.African rangers kill poachers in Kruger park

Jan 12, 2012

Authorities have killed two suspected poachers, arrested two others and found 11 rhino carcasses in the same area of South Africa's Kruger National Park in one week, a spokesman said Thursday.

Hornless rhino carcasses found in S.Africa

Nov 19, 2010

South African wildlife officials have found 18 rhino carcasses dumped by poachers in a remote area with their horns removed, a spokesman for the northern province of Limpopo said Friday.

Nepal launches drones to combat poachers

Jun 20, 2012

Conservationists in Nepal are to send drone aircraft into the skies in the battle to save the Himalayan nation's endangered tigers and rhinos from poachers.

Recommended for you

Where have all the swallows gone?

8 hours ago

Extinction: the permanent loss of a species. It is deeply troubling—and scientists and birdwatchers are ringing the alarm about a bird species that only a few decades ago was widespread and very common.

Wildlife hospitals save 16,000 animals in four years

9 hours ago

Birds are the most commonly rescued wildlife in Queensland, with the laughing kookaburra among our hardiest species, according to new research from The University of Queensland's Gatton Campus.

User comments : 0