Notes from the Field
Dear Readers, I am “Banke”, one of the oldest rhinos in Dudhwa National Park. In the local language ‘Banke’ means ‘handsome and stud like’; therefore I don’t mind the name. Maybe say, well, I couldn’t agree more!
Layers and layers of folded skin, rugged yet still appealing; I am an Asian Rhinoceros, who guards his territory with life. Many a times I have been accused of driving other male rhinos out of my territory. With no choice left these rhinos now graze in the outskirts of the forests, closer to the villages that surround our home mainly due to lack of habitat. Many a times they get driven away by sticks and stones pelleted at them by the angry villagers. I usually like to graze on the aquatic plants. I pretend to be unperturbed when someone is looking and continue with my chores. Only now and then I raise my dignified one-horned head, twitch my ears to sense the air, look around and then get back to my important task of grazing.
Being the senior most and dominant one, I am called the epitome of Rhino Conservation in this area. In the mid 1980’s, along with a few others, we were translocated from North-East India and Nepal. Thank you for giving us an ideal habitat and a large area protected by an electric fence on all the sides. May be that is why I have managed to survive till today. Breeding was successful and currently we are 21 in number, despite all my efforts to terrorize my male rivals.
Dudhwa National Park covers an area of about 500 sq km and is situated along the Indo -Nepal border in Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh. Located amid the warm, tropical forests of the Terai, in the foothills of the Himalayas, it also lies north of the Suheli River. The significance of this National Park lies in its diverse flora and fauna.
Besides supporting a healthy population of tigers, the Hispid Hare also resides here. Hispid Hare is a highly cryptic species, which is rare and found mainly in the Terai grasslands. Though Dudhwa is more popularly known for its vast population of Barasingha, the main prey species of tiger. The park’s thick sal forests, extensive grasslands and wet marshes harbors a wide range of other wildlife overheard his friends call him Harish. There is hustle bustle going on in our area about him and his organization’s role in saving our home. They come to do good for us.
And yes another thing, I am growing old now and I want some one to take my place to continue reporting directly from Dudhwa. This means that there is a need to strengthen efforts on Rhino conservation by securing our habitat for long term survival of my species and of course the forests.
Banke (The Rhino)
Dudhwa National Park