The Return of the Unicorns: The Natural History and Conservation of the Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros

The Return of the Unicorns: The Natural History and Conservation of the Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros

The Return of the Unicorns: The Natural History and Conservation of the Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros

The Return of the Unicorns: The Natural History and Conservation of the Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros

Synopsis

Beginning in 1984, Es in the Royal Chitwan National Park in Nepal, where the population had once declined to as few as 100 rhinos. The Return of the Unicorns is an account of what it takes to save endangered large mammals. In its pages, Dinerstein outlines the multifaceted recovery program--structured around targeted fieldwork and scientific research, effective protective measures, habitat planning and management, public-awareness campaigns, economic incentives to promote local guardianship, and bold, uncompromising leadership--that brought these extraordinary animals back from the brink of extinction. In an age when scientists must also become politicians, educators, fund-raisers, and activists to safeguard the subjects that they study, Dinerstein's inspiring story offers a successful model for large-mammal conservation that can be applied throughout Asia and across the globe.

Excerpt

As I sat on the elephant, I looked past its bristly skull through a bower of grass arching over our trail in Chitwan. the only sound was the swish of grass against the animal’s body as it glided along. We emerged abruptly into a clearing where a gray hulking creature with skin folds like armor plate faced us, its nostrils flared, its ears twitching. the curved horn on its nose looked menacing. We halted. the scene was anachronistic, antediluvian, two giants of the earth meeting as they have for eons. It was 1972, but I felt adrift in time, a bystander in a Pliocene moment. the rhino snorted with irritation, and then lumbered off into the tall grass.

Although I rejoiced in the encounter, I also had feelings of sadness and guilt. This rhino was a survivor, the product of at least 35 million years of evolution, its species reduced to perhaps no more than 1,000 individuals in several reserves in India and in the Chitwan area of Nepal. Demand for its land, the fertile floodplains, and demand for its body parts, whether for the horn that is used in traditional Chinese medicine to reduce fever or the blood taken as a . . .

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