One horned rhinoceros which is the prime attraction in the jungles of Assam is known to be quite a level headed animal. However, when they lose their cool, they can be the most dangerous animal around and an attack from the pachyderm can be fatal for any human. In an unfortunate incident on Thursday, Kul Bahadur Chetri, a forest guard patrolling in the Bherbheri beat of Kohora range came under a rhino’s wrath and was attacked by the animal. Chetri who hails from Dhekiajuli was seriously injured and has now been shifted to Jorhat Medical College.
Deba Dutta, a rhino expert working for IUCN told Eclectic Northeast, ‘Rhinos by nature are not very aggressive and don’t have the tendency to attack humans. However, they can become aggressive in two situations- 1. During their mating period and 2. When a mother feels the security of her calf is being threatened. Rhinos weigh more than 3 tonnes and their attack can be fatal for human beings.’
Seven Instances When Rhinos Lost Their ‘Cool’ in Kaziranga
These rhino attacks in Kaziranga also highlight the kind of danger faced by the guards while doing their daily duty. We look at some of the past instances of rhino attacks on forest guards in Kaziranga.
- May, 2015: A female rhino injured a forest guard named Paresh Bowri and broke the rifle he was carrying during a rhino census at Kaziranga National Park’s Bagori forest range.
- Nov, 2013: A forest guard named Ting Sinhar (30), who was a resident of Karbi Anglong district, sustained severe injuries on his head and chest after being attacked by a rhino near Panijuri anti-poaching camp in the Burapahar forest range. Sinhar later succumbed to his injuries.
- May, 2013: A forest guard named Bihusingh Nath was attacked and injured by a rhino in Bagori range of Kaziranga. He was admitted to Nagaon Civil Hospital.
- March, 2013: Two forest department personnel, including a divisional forest officer (DFO), were injured in an attack by rhinos during a census operation at Kaziranga. DFO Aniruddha Dey and forest guard Hemchandra Dutta were astride an elephant inside Bagori range when the rhino attacked. The elephant panicked and during the incident both Dey and Dutta slipped to the ground. Both of them received injuries in their waists, backs and arms.
- March, 2012: A forest guard named Jogeswar Barua was seriously injured when attacked by a rhino in Kaziranga.
- April, 2011: In this unfortunate incident, Bharat Das, a senior forest guard who would retire in 2018, died on the spot when the rhino attacked him. He received critical injuries on his head, legs and chest leading to his death. The incident occurred near Kartik forest camp under Kohora forest range
- Nov, 2008: Forest guard Ranjit Medhi was killed when he was attacked by a rhino in the Bagori range of the park. As guards attempted to flee, Ranjit fell down and the rhino trampled him causing internal bleeding.