World

Rhino Charges Conservationists After Release Into Wild (Video)

| by Michael Allen

A rare one-horned rhinoceros was released in the Chitwan National Park in Shuklaphanta, Nepal, on April 4, but suddenly turned on the animal conservationists who set it free (video below).

The forestry team is relocating rhinos -- one male and four females -- to increase their numbers through breeding, reports the Daily Mail.

But the male rhino didn't seem grateful as he charged the conservationists who were standing on the vehicle used to transport him. The rhino, believed to be 12 years old, defiantly smashed his horn into the large truck.

Moments later, the rhino changed his mind and galloped near team members who were riding elephants. The rhino then charged into the woods, and left a trail of dust behind him.

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"He is one of the dominant males in this area," Ram Chandra Kandel said.

The rhino population was at 600 in 1975, but rose to 3,555 by 2015 in India and Nepal.

The world population of rhinos is fewer than 30,000, reports the Independent. Poachers hunt the animals for their horns, which some Asian cultures believe have medicinal purposes.

In March that the Dvur Kralove zoo in the Czech Republic was removing the horns of its rhinos because a rhino was killed for its horn at the Thoiry zoo in France, reports The Associated Press.

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Dvur Kralove Director Premysl Rabas said: "The risk that the rhinos currently face, not only in the wild but even in zoos, is too high. The safety of the animals is our first concern. A de-horned rhino is definitely a better option than a dead rhino."

Jan Stejskal, director of communications and international projects at the zoo, added: "There is no live tissue [in the horn]. It’s just compact matter, similar to nails or to hair. If you cut it, it’s like cutting your hair or your nails. So it has no impact on the life of the animal."

Pamir, a 10-year-old male, was the first rhino to have his horn removed.

"Pamir was anesthetized," Jiri Hruby, a rhino curator at the zoo, stated. "The intervention took less than one hour and it was performed without any complications."

A total of 21 rhinos were scheduled to have their horns removed. The horns will eventually grow back.

According to experts at the zoo, the Bandia reserve in Senegal did the same preventive measure with its rhinos, while the Pairi Daiza zoo in Belgium was planning to remove the horns from its rhinos.

Sources: Daily Mail, Independent, AP via The Guardian / Photo credit: Anuwar ali hazarika/Wikimedia Commons

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