A Tale of Hope and Survival: Rescued Baby Indian Rhino Triumphantly Overcomes Brutal Tiger Attack, Inspiring Conservationists

It’s not every day that a rhino shows up in your rice paddy …Unable to move on its own, the three-month-old calf had suffered severe injuries from an attack by a tiger. After receiving some immediate medical treatment, the injured one-horned rhino was taken to the IFAW rescue centre for further care.

Tiger attacks on rhinos are not unheard of. Bengal tigers are known to prey on rhino calves and in some cases even adult rhinos make an appearance on the menu. Indian rhinos are listed as ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List, while tigers are classified as ‘Endangered’.

This is not an unusual encounter. Cheetahs and Sambhars (a type of deer) are the preferred prey of tigers. Yet young and vulnerable rhino calves have been occasionally targeted. In Assam’s Kaziranga National Park, which shelters the biggest population of rhinos, about 15 to 20 rhino cubs are killed by tigers each year.

Nepal’s Chitwan Park and the Dudwhua National Park have also reported similar incidences.

What is most out of the ordinary are attacks on adult rhinos. It is “somewhat against the normal hunting pattern” according to Ganesh Bhar, the deputy director of DDR. Within the past few years there have been a handful of attacks, and resulting deaths to rhinos.

It is unclear why tigers would attack an adult rhino. Territory disputes? Reduction of prey in the area? Increased tiger population resulting in more competition for prey? Is poaching responsible for tiger’s appetite for adult rhinos?

But what is clear is there is now a conflict of conservation, as both the Indian Rhino and Bengal Tiger are endangered. In the battle to secure a future for both species, it is quite disturbing and proves to be a complex issue to keep them safe from man and from each other.

Image © IFAW

The rhino calf that we saved last November took his first little steps in the open, exploring his paddock at Center for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) in Kaziranga, India.

Image © IFAW

In due course, three splinters of the broken bone gradually came out of the calf’s pelvic joint and the wounds healed without any major surgical intervention. After losing the offending splinters he reacts as if he got a new lease on life.

Image © IFAW

Image © IFAW

Sia

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