At least four endangered rhinos that were swept away by floods into India have been rescued and brought back to their home in south-central Nepal, wildlife officials said Wednesday.
Some 40 Nepali officials - including wildlife experts and army soldiers from Nepal's Chitwan National Park - travelled across the border to India for the mission, said Nurendra Aryal, the park's deputy warden.
He said his team rescued four one-horned rhinoceros, including two male adults aged 20 and two calves at Valmikinagar Tiger Reserve in the Indian state of Bihar.
‘We have spotted another rhino which was swept by the flood into India. We will rescue the animal after verifying it,’ Aryal told dpa.
One by one officials tranquilized the rhinos using a dart gun, loaded it into a pen and then drove by truck for 150 kilometres north toward Nepal.
‘We were helped by more than 100 Indian wildlife officials. Dozens of people had gathered to see it,’ he said.
The devastating floods that inundated huge swathes of the southern plains killed at least 130 people in Nepal. It also killed a rhino and a dozen deer in Chitwan National Park, the biggest in Nepal.
Three other rhinos were found about 10 kilometres away from the park on Nepal side of the border, he added. ‘We will rescue them soon,’ Aryal said.
Nepal, home to 645 rhinos, has earned praise from conservationists for doubling its population, which had declined due to poaching during the country's 10-year civil war.
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