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Watch: Charging Rhinos Send Tourists for a Serious Ride

On February 25, a jeep filled with seven tourists was parked on a dirt road in Jaldapara National Park in North Bengal, India, when two charging rhinos attacked the vehicle, seemingly out of nowhere. The driver threw the jeep into reverse to escape. It wasn’t enough. The chase continued for a few heart-stopping seconds until the car slid into the brush, rolling into a roadside ditch and injuring all its occupants in the process.

The rhinoceroses veered off to the left as soon as the accident occurred. Shortly afterward, they were seen to begin fighting nearby, reports India Today

All seven tourists were rushed to the nearby Madarihat Community Health where they received immediate treatment. No one was killed in the accident, but two tourists are reportedly in critical condition. They are now receiving further hospital care. Kamal Gazi, the jeep’s driver, also sustained minor injuries. 

The accident was captured in a now-viral video. Akash Deep Badhawan—a member of the Indian Forest Service according to his Twitter account—shared the footage of the charging rhinos on social media the day of the accident. It has since been viewed more than 275,000 times and has received hundreds of comments. In some of them, Twitter users blame tour operators or even the tourists themselves for getting too close to the wildlife. Others blame the driver for panicking and reversing too haphazardly. 

However, it may be difficult to place blame based on the video alone. This is the first time a rhinoceros charge of this nature has ever been recorded in Jaldapara National Park, reports India Today. It’s possible that the tour operator was following proper protocols when a rogue attack occurred. 

Even so, Badhawan’s Twitter post mentions that it might be time for more regulation—both to protect the park’s Indian rhinoceroses, which are internationally listed as a vulnerable species—and its visitors.

“I think it’s about time guidelines for safety and rescue in adventure sports are implemented in wildlife safaris across the country,” Badhawan says.

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