Kaziranga, April 13: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Prince William and Kate Middleton today took an open jeep safari through the Kaziranga National Park in Assam that is home to two-thirds of the world’s one-horned rhino population and later visited neighbouring villages.Also Read - Royal Family Sends Good Luck Wishes to England
Wearing the Assamese honour scarf ‘Bihuwan’, the Duke and Duchess, dressed in casuals with the latter wearing jeans and a white and black polka shirt, sat in an open jeep for the two hour-long safari after breakfast, as security vehicles escorted them into the Bagori range of the world heritage site. Also Read - Meghan Markle Had Suicidal Thoughts, Says 'I Was Ashamed to Admit it to Harry'
After they came out of the park, officials accompanying them told waiting journalists at the gate of KNP that they spotted rhinos, buck deer, buffaloes and many other animals. They also went to the Dunga and Rowmari Forest camps mostly inhabitated by rhinos and tigers in the park.
The couple had breakfast at Bimoli camp and interacted with the KNP frontline staff asking about the habits of rhinos and elephants, the officials said.(ALSO READ:Kate Middleton & Prince Williams intrigued by automatic dosa-maker showcased by Chennai’s B Tech graduate). Also Read - The Crown is 'Not Historically Accurate': More Criticism Comes in For Netflix Show About The Royal Family
They also enquired about the anti-poaching measures and if they were satisfied with the efforts. Prince William enquired about the challenges they faced in their efforts to keep the animals safe from poachers and if they required superior weapons.
The couple was informed about forest conservation efforts and anti-poaching measures adopted to reduce the killing of rhinos by poachers.
Before setting out on the safari, the royal couple was welcomed in front of the Kaziranga Infomation Centre by Principal Chief Conservator of Forest O P Pandey and Additional PCCF N K Yadav with the traditional ‘Bihuwan’.
They read in detail the map of the park and information about the animals with senior forest officials explaining to them where the animals could be spotted.After the jeep safari, the couple visited villages around the famed park, the Kaziranga Discovery Centre and Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation.The guests visited Rong Terang Gaon, where the villagers have shifted their homes to create a corridor for elephants. They took a keen interest in the measures taken by villagers to reduce man-elephant conflict.
In the village, the couple first visited ‘Namghar’, the traditional prayer hall, where they entered after removing their shoes and kneeled down to bow before the altar housing the ‘nam-ghosa’ (the holy book). They then interacted with a group of local villagers and officials.
The royal couple also visited the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre (CWRC) at Panbari area where they were shown a documentary of man-elephant conflict across the state.
The Duke and Duchess also visited Kaziranga Discovery Centre where The Mark Shand Asian Elephant Learning Centre is situated and were briefed about the activities of the Captive Elephant Clinic which handled 4,883 cases.
Shand, a renowned travel writer and conservationist, was the co-founder of the Foundation of Elephant Family in 2002 and also the brother of Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla
The royal couple also drew some doodles and signed on fibre glass elephants with the map of both India and the UK along with a world map to create awareness about the need to save elephants and their habitats.