Rhinos on the rise

Deep in the tangled subtropical jungle that fringes southern Nepal, we bounce through Chitwan National Park on the back of a jeep, peering into the elephant grass where wild Bengali tigers roam. Watching and waiting in the muggy monsoon heat, the guide beside me falls asleep, lulled by this slow, lurching ride and the distinct lack of tigers.

That’s when we spy her: a great, grey giant and her tiny calf by a trickle of a stream. Nose raised high, she sniffs us out and, despite her terrible eyesight, locks us in a piercing, silent gaze that is my undoing. This one-horned leathery beast may not be the reason I endured 10 uncomfortable hours on a crowded Nepali bus, but to eyeball this rhino — one of the world’s rarest creatures — is a moment of pure rapture.

I came to Chitwan National Park with tigers on my mind but in Nepal’s oldest and most famous wildlife sanctuary I encounter the world’s largest rhino in wondrous droves: female-led family groups feeding by the dusty track and

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