Indian Rhinos: For first time in many years, no rhinos poached in Assam in 2022

Source: The post is based on the article “For first time in many years, no rhinos poached in Assam in 2022” published in Indian Express on 3rd January 2023

What is the News?

Assam Chief Minister has announced that no Indian rhinos were poached in the state in 2022.

What are Indian Rhinos?

The Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) also called the Indian rhino, greater one-horned rhinoceros or great Indian rhinoceros is a rhinoceros species native to the Indian subcontinent.

Characteristics: It has a single black horn that can grow up to 60 cm, and a tough, grey-brown hide with skin folds, which gives the animal its characteristic armour-plated look.

IUCN Status: Vulnerable

Found in: It is found only in the Brahmaputra valley, parts of North Bengal and parts of southern Nepal. 

Population: According to the World Wide Fund (WWF), there are around 3,700 Indian rhinos in the wild. Assam’s Kaziranga National Park (KNP) alone has 2,613 animals. There are more than 250 other rhinos in the Orang, Pobitora and Manas parks.

Rhino Poaching: Rhinos have been poached for their horn which is prized in some cultures. An Assam Forest Department release in 2021 said ground rhino horn is used in traditional Chinese medicine to cure a range of ailments, from cancer to hangovers and also as an aphrodisiac. In Vietnam, a rhino horn is considered a status symbol.

Initiatives to prevent rhino poaching: In 2019, the Assam government constituted a Special Rhino Protection Force to keep a check on rhino poaching and related activities at Kaziranga National Park (KNP). 

– On September 22, World Rhino Day, in 2021, almost 2,500 rhino horns were burnt publicly in KNP to bust myths about rhino horns and to send a loud and clear message to the poachers and smugglers that such items have no value.

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