A wild rhinoceros that strayed from a wildlife reserve has charged through a small town in southern Nepal, killing one person and injuring several others.

AP reports that the rhino charged through a local market and main bus station in the town of Hetauda, before entering a local hospital. 

Wildlife officials armed with tranquiliser guns were hoping to capture the animal and drive it back into the park with the help kumkis, specially trained elephants that are often used to lead stray wild elephants away from human settlements. "Our focus is to rescue [the rhino]," a police spokesperson said earlier.  

It's unclear at this stage whether the animal strayed from the nearby Parsa Wildlife Reserve or the adjacent Chitwan National Park, which is Nepal's biggest conservation area and home to one of the world's last populations of greater one-horned rhinos. 

While Nepal's conservation successes, including its effective strategies to combat poaching and wildlife crime, have been applauded internationally, increasing human-wildlife conflict remains a challenge for the country's conservationists. Attacks on humans often spark retaliatory killings of wildlife.

Rhinos rarely cause human deaths, however. The last reported fatality was in 2013, when a man was gored by a rhino while fishing in Chitwan National Park. At the time, the park's chief warden, Kamal Jung Kunwar, warned that habitat loss caused by deforestation was increasingly forcing wildlife to stray into villages, particularly those located in the 'buffer zones' around national parks. "[But] rhinos are not aggressive animals so it's rare for them to kill humans," Kunwar cautioned at the time. 

Top header image: bobosh_t, Flickr