Tough fight to save rhinos

Wildlife conservation efforts are never easy, as these members of a Nepalese forestry and technical team can attest to. They found themselves coming under attack after a rhinoceros - released in a relocation project on Monday - became spooked and charged at them.

Conservationists had captured the rare, one-horned rhino in an attempt to increase numbers of the vulnerable animal, which is prized by wildlife poachers. The large male rhino, estimated to be around 12 years old, was located by rangers in Chitwan National Park after a four-hour search on elephant-back.

It was the first and only male of five rhinos to be released into Shuklaphanta National Park in Nepal's far west, in the hope of establishing a new breeding group, reported Agence France-Presse. It will take at least a week to catch and transport the remaining rhinos to their new habitat, which is home to an estimated eight of their kin.

Thousands of one-horned rhinos once roamed the southern plains of Nepal, but rampant poaching and the pressures of human encroachment reduced their numbers to about 100 in the later part of the last century. There are now around 645 of them after a government-led conservation push in the years since a 10-year civil war ended in 2006.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 05, 2017, with the headline 'Tough fight to save rhinos'. Print Edition | Subscribe