Mountains, temples & jungle

By Xing Yi ( China Daily ) Updated: 2017-10-28 07:24:04

Mountains, temples & jungle

Gharial, an endangered native crocodile species.[Photo by Xing Yi/China Daily]

We first passed an army barracks, and then visited a crocodile breeding center to see gharial, an endangered native crocodile species found in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent.

We then started our jungle walk.

Our guide's name was Chok, a man in his early 60s with 35 years of experience of working in different nature preserves.

"The most dangerous animal one can encounter in Chitwan is a rhino", he said. "There are some 500 rhinos here". Rhinos are herbivorous, but will attack humans if they get too close.

People still hunt rhinos for their precious horns, so they are now aggressive toward humans, Chok explains.

But so far the jungle seemed pretty tame, and a far cry from the thrill of jungle adventures such as Tarzan or Jurassic Park.

For most part of the journey, we just walked in a line on a narrow path on the edge of the jungle.

We saw some deer, birds, and a wild gharial crocodile swimming in the river.

But at one turning over a brook, Chok stopped and motioned to us to be quiet. Then we heard splashes of water coming from behind thick shrub.

A few steps later, I saw a gray shadow pass through the dark green grass to my right about 10 meters away, then disappear quickly into the forest before I could make it out.

"A rhino?" I asked.

"Yes, it's a rhino," Chok said.

"It didn't attack us. It ran away because we outnumbered it."

Maybe, millions of years ago, we human beings came from the jungle. But now humans are intruders in it. That's why wild animals all hide away when they hear human noise.

After this, increasingly dense foliage prevented any attempt by us from entering the jungle again, and we returned to the canoes.


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