Monday, 10 March 2014

Spotting the Elusive One-Horn Rhino

It's been more than a year since I travelled to Naturally Nepal and had a thrilling time trekking to Poon Hill.

I also remember the time when we travelled to the Chitwan National Park to spot the elusive one-horn rhino.

We started our trip when the guide picked up up from Eden Garden Resort where we stayed. He brought us to the river bank where a group of people were waiting for the sampan to cross the river.

Question: Why did the people cross the river? 
Answer: To get to the other side to spot the one-horn rhino.

When we reached the other side of the river, we climbed onto a jeep and drove into the forest. We were told to wear earth colour clothing and keep as silent as possible so that the animals won't run away. We want to see the animals, not scare them away.

We were fortunate to share the jeep with a family from Israel. I was naturally fascinated with anyone from Israel because I hardly meet anyone from that country. In my mind I was thinking ... oh so this is how Jesus Christ looks like. ...

Along the way, we spotted a rhino in the river (or was it a lake?). It was too far away and I was hungry to get up close and personal with one.

Can you spot the rhino?

After stopping to snap pics of the so-far-away rhino, we continued our journey through meandering roads.

The forest in Chitwan National Park is a secondary forest. Therefore it is not as densed as a rainforest that I'm so used to back in Malaysia.

To kill boredom along the way, the guide told us various stories of how they have spotted tigers crossing the path as they drove by.

The journey was so dusty that the dust even went into Angie's camera lenses and she had to give it a good clean after the trip.

Soon we reached the Gharial Conservation Programme in one part of the park. 

Nothing much to see here but crocodiles and alligators.

I was getting bored and soon we climbed back into the jeep.

The journey seemed endless and I was beginning to feel restless and hopeless that we won't be able to spot the one-horn rhino up close and personal. It was already getting late and time to head back.

As we were heading back, we passed a red jeep and suddenly I heard someone shouting and the guy sitting in the front was pointing to the front of our jeep - it was a rhino.

The beast stood in the middle of the road, gave us a split second look and went back into the trees.

By the time I whipped out my camera, I only managed to snap its butt that looked like this:

And here is another pic of it getting lost in the trees:

When we were planning for Nepal, I told Angie that I wanted to go to the Chitwan National Park to look for the one-horn rhino simply because rhinos are not native to Malaysia. And spotting one in the wild would be great. 

Mission accomplished. 

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