Monday, May 7, 2012

How to Find a Rhino

I woke up early today to search for a Rhino. Most people come to Chitwan National Park for this reason. Many people search days for the elusive Rhino. I set off this morning determined to find a Nepalese Rhino.

We started off on canoes in the winding Rapti River. The canoe swayed precariously from side to side almost tipping the canoe full of people into the water. From the boat we spotted many birds and an endangered species of crocodile called the  Gharial Crocodile.
Red Beetles
After an hour of canoeing we arrived at our drop off location along the bank of the Rapti River. From there my two guides and I set off into the jungle to find a Rhino. 

Before entering the jungle we had a safety talk about what to do in the event to a rhino, tiger, or bear. They said to escape a rhino you must climb a tree, for a tiger you must hold your ground and never run and for a bear you must make a lot of noise.

The guides stopped every couple of minutes to listen, look and smell (yes they can smell rhinos) their surroundings. They often climbed trees to look down into the tall brush. The guides led me to the most common places to see the rhino. We walked for hours seeing, butterflies the size of my hand, monkeys, deer and tons of red beetles.

At one point we entered an area of tall grass, which is the most dangerous since there are no tree to climb up if you encounter a rhino. We heard some growling in the bush and halted. We listened for a few moments then the guide signaled me to back up slowly and return to the woods. When we were safely back in the forest he said that the noise might have been tiger cubs, which are very dangerous since they mean that mom is close. I will never know what was making the noise.

After three hours we walked out of the jungle back to my hotel without see a single Rhino. I was a bit disappointed but I still had a three hour jeep tour to look forward to after lunch. 

The jeep tour took our group 25 kilometers into the jungle. We drove along bumpy roads looking out for any animals. We saw monkeys, deer, crocodiles and many birds. We rode on for a two hours and I began to lose hope that I was ever going to see a rhino. Then finally there it was in the middle of the road just looking at us. 

We watched it for a couple minutes as it chewed on some grass. Content we left back to the hotel. My new goal is to see a tiger. Tomorrow I have an elephant safari through the jungle. Then I will bathe with the elephants in the river. I am very excited. 

In conclusion... the key to finding a Rhino is patience.


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