Kaziranga National Park - Rhino Country, Assam
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ArrowKaziranga National Park - Rhino Country, Assam
ArrowKeoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, Rajasthan
ArrowManas Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam
ArrowNanda Devi & Valley of
Flowers National Park
ArrowSunderbans National Park, West Bengal
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Kaziranga National Park - Rhino country "World Heritage Site"
Kaziranga National Park - Rhino country No two places could be more diverse in their physical appearance and character, yet the twin sanctuaries of Assam which would form a perfect triangle with Guwahati are together completely representative of the Indian northeast. While Kaziranga is flat country with elephant grass shallow swamps interspersed with large patches of semi-evergreen forest, Manas lies at the foot of the Bhutan hills and through it flows the Manas river which spills in to the plains, splitting in to two streams, the Beki and the Hakua. On either side of the Manas river, plentiful wildlife and magnificent scenery combine to form one of the world's best and most picturesque wildlife reserves.

The only natural enemy of the rhino is the tiger of which there is a sizable population in the park. The tall grass and the patches of forest provide excellent cover for the big cats which are therefore rarely seen. Sometimes a tiger will attack and kill a rhino calf despite the mother's aggressive vigilance, but the rhino suffers more at the hand of man. Its horn, believed to be an aphrodisiac by the ancient Indians and highly sought after by Chinese medicine men, is a lucrative target for poachers who usually operate from the Darrang district across the Brahmaputra river and sometimes from the Mikir hills where the animals retreat during the floods.

The rhino, being a creature of set habits, follows well-worn trails and even defecates at the same spot each day. Taking advantage of its regular habits, a pit large enough to accommodate its body is dug by the poachers in its usual path and then covered with leaves and grass. The unwary animal falls in to the pit where it is killed and its horn hacked off with a dao. Other parts of the body also command sale value. As both sexes carry the horn, the threat is doubly compounded.

The wild buffalo herds in Kaziranga, like the rhino, have also got relatively used to humans and can be approached on elephant-back with little danger. By and large, buffalo herds are shy of humans, and mothers canter off with their woolly calves if threatened. However, solitary bulls are often bad tempered and quick to charge with or without any provocation. If a good elephant holds its ground, the bull will usually pull up short, a picture of wild defiance. These bulls often stay in the vicinity of herds, and sometimes mate with domestic buffalo cows as well. The Kaziranga buffalo have over the years suffered from domestic genes invading the wild stock, and unlike the wild buffalo of Manas, the animals are thought to be feral in most cases.

Elephant Safari in Kaziranga National Park The presence of buffalo and rhino make walking in the sanctuary a difficult proposition. A third species ensures that visitors enter only riding elephants or in vehicles. Herds of up to 200 wild elephants can be seen migrating from the Mikir hills to the bheels, and like the buffalo, it is again the solitary bull elephant which is prone to create trouble. The large number of untusked males (makhnas) in the northeast often causes confusion, for what is taken to be a large female turns out to be a male. A riding elephant, on occasion, can wander in to a herd of wild elephants; on the other hand, a wild elephant will even caress a trained one with its trunk, oblivious of the dreaded human cargo on its back.