Floods sweep rhinos to India, Nepal prepares to bring them back


Nepal Army soldiers help clean mud after floods hit parts of Biratnagar’s domestic airport, 240 km from the capital Kathmandu, on August 16, 2017. At least 221 people have died and more than 1.5 million have been displaced by monsoon flooding across India, Nepal and Bangladesh.(image)

The devastating floods in Nepal have not only killed 120 people and displaced tens of thousands but they have also destroyed the habitat of wild animals and swept away several endangered one-horned rhinos to India.

Officials at Chitwan National Park, especially famous as the habitat of the Royal Bengal Tiger, one-horned rhinos and elephants, are preparing to bring back the endangered animals that were swept away to different places within Nepal and to India.

According to Nepal’s national news agency RSS, authorities have been searching for the missing rhinos for the past two days. One was found dead while a two-year-old rhino was detected in an Indian settlement and four more in jungles along the Nepal-India border.

Chitwan National Park’s information officer, Nurendra Aryal, was quoted as saying that Nepalese authorities had located a two-year-old baby rhino at Bagaha, 42 km southeast of Balmiki Nagar in India, and were in touch with Indian officials to bring it back.

However, officials are facing difficulties in bringing back the animals from India as the highway on the Nepalese side has been cut off by flood waters.

Similarly, an elephant was spotted at Narsahi in a community forest within the Tribeni buffer zone, and another at Balmiki Ashram.

Nepalese security personnel have been deployed in border areas to protect the displaced rhinos and elephants. Flood have wreaked havoc in different parts of Chitwan district and several animals have been drowned within the park. Officials believe more wild animals could have been swept away to India.

Hotel owners in the same area had rescued more than 600 tourists, including many Indians, with elephants after they were trapped by the floods at a tourist site called Sauraha.

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