After more than a century of being hunted to near-extinction, the iconic Indian rhinoceros is on the rebound. Officials from India's Assam region, home to more than three-fourths of the rhinos in existence, say that the species' numbers have spiked a remarkable 27 percent in less than a decade -- all thanks to the success of conservation measures put in place to save them.
"We are taking various steps to protect rhinos with the help of wildlife experts and legal professionals," says Assam Environment and Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain. "As per the last rhino census, the population of the world famous animal has grown to 2,544 in entire Assam in 2013 from 2,006 in 2006."
Kazirganga National park, now home to 2,329 Indian rhinos, has seen the greatest increase, adding nearly 500 in that time period. Rampant sport hunting of the animals had reduced the park's rhino population to just a dozen individuals in 1908. Over the last decade, however, Assam rangers have stepped-up patrols to guard against poaching and other threats, allowing the remaining rhinos to thrive. A total of 198 poachers have been arrested, and another 27 killed by forest guards as state officials have prioritized wildlife protections.