Although India is undergoing a massive urbanization and population boom, the country has sheltered a few remote parks from human influences. These national parks harbor a myriad of life, and many of the most impressive creatures to tread the earth inhabit them.
The first park we visited, Kaziranga, has some of the greatest biodiversity anywhere in the world. It is famous for its population of Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros, which accounts for about 70% of the world population. On our five game drives to various parts of the parks, we saw no less than 300 rhinos, a clear indication of their abundance. On our first drive, a rhino mother and calf crossed the road about 15 feet in front of us, a heart-stopping encounter. Other animals included many herds of Indian elephants, countless wild buffalo, and a broad range of bird species.
The poachers who shoot rhinos in this park sell their horns on the black market to China, where they are used in traditional medicines. Kaziranga has been able to protect its rhinos by instituting a shoot on site policy for poachers. Although harsh, this inventive policy has made poacher numbers plummet and rhino numbers skyrocket.