Tuesday, November 14, 2023


It's hard to reconcile when something so formidable can also be so fragile. The Asian One-horned Rhino, built like an armoured truck, is perilously close to extinction, and one of the last places in the Indian subcontinent to see them in healthy numbers is the Kaziranga national park. In the wonderfully protected wetlands of this park, irrigated by the flood waters of the Brahmaputra, you'll see these giants grazing on grass or hyacinth, oblivious both to their celebrity and their precarious existential status.

As it happens in such sanctuaries, the protection of one species affords security to so many other species sharing that habitat. Hog deer, Swamp deer, Otters, Water monitor lizards and so many birds abound here. The rebound of Rhino numbers from the low hundreds during the early 1900s to a few thousands right now is a source of hope. In the first two safaris I came away thankful for the spirit of conservation that's steeped in our indigenous culture that has helped with the success of this conservation effort. And yet, the very next day, which happened to be Diwali proved that cliched adage about India; for everything that's true in this country the opposite is also true. That whole night, crackers went off almost without a pause and from every direction. In the next couple of safaris the following day it was clear that most of the shorebirds and waders had flown away, but the Rhinos were still there, as stoic as ever. 

1 comment:

Uma Rajanna said...

Stoic as ever, giants grazing.... Oblivious to their celebrity and their precarious existential status.... Descriptions like these lend beauty and depth to your writingđź‘Ť
An illuminating articleđź‘Ś