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Thursday, June 1, 2023

encounters on road .... this time a rhino on loose in Nepal

The other day, driving in mid-noon passing through Mandaiveli Bus stand, Devanathan Street – nearer Mandaiveli Post Office / market / St. Mary’s road junction – I was baffled by the lazy gait .... it was not expected to be there on the middle of the road (I told myself – so did a couple of baffled onlookers) – it was of ‘genus Dromaius’ !!

In Triplicane as in some other areas, people share the road with bovines roaming freely.  Recently, there was a newsreport on increasing road accidents in Kamarajar salai, due to stray cattle running suddenly. Besides the cattle, one encounters on city roads -  stray dogs, cats, goats, horses  – rarely monkeys,  elephants …..  Nearer Vivekananda College and in a couple of places elsewhere one could get to see -   ‘Equus africanus asinus’, a domesticated member of the horse family, Equidae –  in   villages, it could be a common sight – in City !! -  the animal once used extensively by dhobis – the donkey. 
Some wild animals, we do not get to see even in Zoological parks – Nepal is different perhaps.

Nepal is located in the Himalayas bordered by China and India.  Nepal falls in the temperate zone north of the Tropic of Cancer. The country can be divided into three main geographical regions: Himalayan region, mid hill region and Terai region. The highest point in the country is Mt. Everest (8,848 m).  Nepal is a biodiversity hot spot with eco-regions.  There are 181 mammal species reported including 28 species outside the limits of the protected areas.   Among the several species of mammal found in Nepal, notable are the Bengal fox, Bengal tiger, clouded leopard, Indian rhinoceros, Indian elephant,  red panda, snow leopard, Tibetan fox.

The list includes ‘rhino’ which none of us would dream of seeing on a street – the news is that a runaway rhino killed one and left  six injured after escaping from wildlife reserve and rampaging through town in Nepal.  MailOnline and other news agencies report that a  woman died and six people were injured after a rhinoceros escaped from a wildlife reserve and rampaged through a town. The 61-year-old was gored by the animal as it chased down startled pedestrians and rammed vehicles in Makwanpur, Nepal.

Footage shows the rhino hurtling down narrow residential streets after motorbikes as residents fled to top-floor balconies for safety at Makwanpur, Nepal.  Attempts to force the rhino out of the city by honking car horns and beating drums were unsuccessful.  Trained elephants have been transferred to the area to try and corner the rhino so authorities can guide it back to the Parsa Wildlife Reserve, officials said. Teams with tranquilizer guns have also been called.

A Govt spokesperson is quoted as saying that the area had been 'terrorized' by the animal. He said: 'It even entered the local hospital, forcing terrified people to jump over the fences.' It is thought the rhino travelled 12 miles (20km) from an unfenced nearby reserve, police said.

Rhinos can weigh up to 1400kg and have been recorded running at speeds of 34mph. In 2013 a rhino gored a man to death while he was fishing at Chitwan National Park, also in Nepal. Deforestation often forces wildlife to wander into nearby villages where they become startled by people and noise.  Nepal is home to 534 rhinos and has twice been recognised by conservation experts for going a full year with no poaching incidents involving rhinos. They are most commonly killed for their horns, which are prized for their supposed medicinal qualities in China and southeast Asia.

The one mentioned in 1st para - ‘genus Dromaius’ – is  the largest bird native to Australia and the only extant member of the genus – the Emu.  It is the second-largest extant bird in the world by height, after its ratite relative, the ostrich. Yes, emu was spotted running on road near Mandaiveli market.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

31st Mar 2015.

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