World Rhino Day
- The Assam government is all set to burn 2,479 pieces of rhino horn housed in state treasuries on September 22 on the occasion of World Rhino Day.
- World Rhino Day is a day of awareness for all five rhino species and the work being done to save them, this year is the 10th anniversary.
The state cabinet also decided that 94 rhino horns will be preserved as heritage pieces for academic purposes, while 50 rhino horns will be preserved for court cases.
During the verification process, the Rhino Horn Verification Committee recorded the world’s largest horn, weighing 3.051 kg and 36 cm in height.
The horn was found in 1982 from a rhino in the Bagori range of Kaziranga National Park.
The Greater One-Horned Rhino is one among the five different species of Rhino. The other four are:
- Black Rhino: Smaller of the two African species.
- White Rhino: Recently, researchers have created an embryo of the northern white rhino by using In-vitro Fertilization (IVF) process.
- Javan Rhino: Critically endangered in IUCN Red List.
- Sumatran Rhino: Recently gone extinct in Malaysia.
- There are three species of rhino in Asia—Greater one-horned (Rhinoceros unicornis), Javan, and Sumatran.
- Only the Great One-Horned Rhino is found in India.
- Also known as the Indian rhino, it is the largest of the rhino species.
- It is identified by a single black horn and a grey-brown hide with skin folds.
- They primarily graze, with a diet consisting almost entirely of grasses as well as leaves, branches of shrubs and trees, fruit, and aquatic plants.
- The species is restricted to small habitats in Indo-Nepal terai and northern West Bengal and Assam.
- In India, rhinos are mainly found in Assam, West Bengal, and Uttar Pradesh.
- Assam has an estimated 2,640 rhinos in four protected areas, i.e. *
- Pabitora Wildlife Reserve, Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park, Kaziranga National Park, and Manas National Park.
- About 2,400 of them are in the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve (KNPTR)
- IUCN Red List: Vulnerable.
- Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES): Appendix I (Threatened with extinction and CITES prohibits international trade in specimens of these species except when the purpose of the import is not commercial, for instance for scientific research).
- Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule I.
- Poaching for the horns
- Habitat loss
- Population density
- Decreasing Genetic diversity
Conservation Efforts by India:
- The five rhino range nations (India, Bhutan, Nepal, Indonesia and Malaysia) have signed a declaration ‘The New Delhi Declaration on Asian Rhinos 2019’ for the conservation and protection of the species.
- National Rhino Conservation Strategy: It was launched in 2019 to conserve the greater one-horned rhinoceros.
- Indian Rhino Vision 2020: Launched in 2005, it is an ambitious effort to attain a wild population of at least 3,000 greater one-horned rhinos spread over seven protected areas in the Indian state of Assam by the year 2020.