GUWAHATI: On their maiden visit to India, Britain’s royal couple Prince William and Princess Kate Middleton visited the one-horned rhino-famed Kaziranga National Park in Assam on Wednesday.
They travelled around parts of the park in an open jeep under tight security arrangements. According to officials accompanying the Duke and the Duchess of Cambridge, the couple saw rhinos, buck deer, buffaloes among other animals.
The visit came in less than a week of the gunning down of a rhino by poachers, who sawed off the animal’s horn while it was still alive. Over the past 15 years, poachers killed more than 200 rhinos in Assam. Most of these killings had taken place in Kaziranga. The national park also lost several rhinos during floods.
During their interaction with forest officials, William and Kate were learned to be very inquisitive about the habits of rhinos and elephants, the measures taken to thwart poaching and the challenges which the authorities faced. Earlier, prior to setting out on the safari, they were welcomed by the principal chief conservator of forest and the additional PCCF.
On their arrival at the Diflu River Lodge in the park on Tuesday evening, the royal couple was entertained with Bihu and Jhumur dances. During the programme, Prince William was seen attempting to blow a pepa (wind instrument). Back in 1992, his mother, the late Princess Diana, had visited India. She was then not accompanied by any member of the royal family.
They will wrap up the sojourn with a visit to the Taj Mahal on April 16.