A baby rhino, not even 4-months-old was feverishly trying to swim across rushing waters in northeast India, when a rescue patrol first noticed him. He was trying to locate his mom. Rescuers brought the baby rhino on board, to take him to dry land. They transported him to the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) Wildlife Rescue Center on Wednesday.
Millions of people have been displaced and several have died after the largest peak in a decade, complete with heavy monsoon rain and biblical-like flooding have wreaked havoc on the area. And India’s precious wild animals haven’t been spared from the disaster.
“The calf is highly stressed,” said Dr. Panjit Basumatary, the head veterinarian at the animal rescue center. “After two unsuccessful attempts, he is now responding to oral rehydration and milk formula.” The baby was placed under 24-hour observation in the nursery to make sure he stabilizes.
“Under ordinary circumstances with young individuals, attempts (some lasting for weeks) are made to reunite them with their mothers, before they are considered subjects for long-term rehabilitation,” stated Gail A’Brunzo, the wildlife rescue manager for IFAW. “In this case, the rhino was being swept away by floodwaters and no reunification was possible. Should all continue to go well with him, he will be rehabilitated until he is old enough and has the skills to survive in the wild.”
This dramatic rescue is merely one in a long list taking place right now in Assam, India, where Kaziranga National Park, home to Indian rhinos, elephants and other endangered animals, are battling record-setting monsoon floods. Eight other rhinos rescued from the floods are currently being cared for by IFAW. The organization is calling the massive flooding of the Kaziranga National Park a “major wildlife crisis,” describing the floods as the worst in a decade. Despite the dreary situation, we are all very fortunate that there are heroes out there saving these beautiful animals.