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RHINOCEROS POPULATION IN INDIA

India has been diligently protecting the one-horned rhinoceros as well as coming up with new laws to protect them at any cost. In spite of numerous protection measures their poaching continues and thus new methods are being evolved to protect them.

Rhinoceroses are huge, herbivorous warm-blooded animals distinguished by their exquisite horned noses. The word ‘Rhinoceros’ originates from the Greek ‘rhino’ (nose) and ‘ceros’ (horn). Rhinos are solitary creatures. However, within parks of Assam with large rhinoceros population, animals have been seen in groups which is an indication of lack of space.

There are five species and 11 sub-species of rhino; some have two horns, while others have one. Traditionally the animal’s horns are believed to have mending properties and hence have been used in medicine. This fact, even though not based on research, has pushed the population of rhinos to the verge of extinction.

Reasons for their disappearance

Their horns are sold as prizes or enhancements, however more frequently they are ground up and utilized in customary Chinese medication. The powder is regularly added to food or blended in a tea with the conviction that the horns are a ground-breaking sexual enhancer, a headache fix, and treatment for fever, ailment, gout, and other different issues, as per the International Rhino Foundation.

Although global exchange rhino horn has been restricted under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora) since 1977, request stays high, especially in Vietnam – powering rhino poaching in both Africa and Asia.

Powdered horn is utilized in customary Asian medication as an alleged remedy for a range of illnesses – from headaches to fevers and even malignant growth.

There has been a huge escalation in poaching since 2008, especially in South Africa, which has seen record quantities of rhinos poached lately. Rhinoceros population is decreased due to poarching.

In 2018 South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs declared figures demonstrating that the number of rhinos executed in South Africa dropped from 1, 028 as in 2017 to 769 in the year 2018, in any case, the emergency for rhinos is a long way from being done.

Indian rhinos once inhabited the whole stretch of the Indo-Gangetic plains.

However, poaching and habitat encroachment decreased its habitat radically to 11 localities in northern India and southern Nepal.

In the mid-1990s, somewhere in the range of 1,870 and 1,895 rhinos were assessed to have been alive. Indian rhinos stay in social groupings. Males are commonly loners apart from the time when they are mating and battling.

Females are found alone only when they are without calves. Mother rhinos remain close to their calves for as long as four years after giving birth. So, it likes to remain in a herd composed of her children.

Indian rhinos form momentary groupings, especially during the rainstorm season in forests and in fields during March and April. Gatherings of up to 10 rhinos may assemble in flounders—it is ordinarily a male with females and calves, and no subadult males.

kaziranga-one-horned-rhino-utkal-today
Image: Kaziranga National Park

Measures in India to prevent the rhinoceros population from declining

While India’s endeavours and battles to moderate the tiger population is known to all of us, here is one of India’s best protection stories for controlling rhinoceros population.

From a populace of scarcely 75 as in the year 1905, their number has risen over more than 2,700 by the year 2012, as indicated by the World-Wide Fund for Nature–India (WWF-India). The figures predict that the numbers are likely to grow past 3600 at the end of 2020.

Rhinoceros-Population-West-Bengal-utkal-today
Image: Tour My India

From the start of the twentieth century, chasing and unfavorable natural surroundings had diminished the number of the species to less than 200 in northern India and Nepal.

Because of an exacting assurance executed by Indian and Nepalese specialists, the populace has bounced back to more than 3,600 as of today. 

Assam

In 2012, more than 91 percent of Indian rhinos lived in Assam, as per WWF-India information. In Assam, rhinos stay inside Kaziranga public park, with a few more living in Pobitora natural life safe-haven.

Also read: Brutality repeats- The killing of the pregnant elephant in Kerala

Kaziranga is home to more than 91 percent of Assam’s rhinos – and more than 80 per cent of India’s rhinos — as per a population registration done by Kaziranga park specialists in the year 2015 uncovering 2,401 rhinos inside the national park.

Role of NGOs in controlling decline

The expansion in the populace has additionally been a result of the reduction in poaching. Despite the fact that rhino poaching peaked in India in 2013 when 41 of the herbivores were executed, it has declined since, generally due to better policing and assurance by the Assam government and non-administrative associations (NGOs), as indicated by Tito Joseph, program director of the counter-poaching program at the Wildlife Protection Society of India, an NGO.

With rhinos chiefly gathered in Kaziranga, there is a danger to it too. The national park may have arrived at its conveying limit and probably won’t have the option to help additional rhinos; and the more a population stays concentrated in one place, the more are the chances of it being affected by an epidemic, a catastrophic event, or any other intense danger.

Rhinoceroses-utkal-today
Image: rhinoreview.org

So to address the danger, rhinos from zones like Kaziranga National Park and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary are being moved to other secured zones where they can stay.

Translocating Indian rhinos to more secured territories will make a bigger, more secure, and steadier populace.

Thus, rhinos need to move in order to guarantee species endurance, as indicated by the Indian Rhino Vision 2020 Programme (IRV2020), a synergistic exertion between different associations, including the International Rhino Foundation, Assam’s backwoods office, Bodoland Territorial Council, WWF-India, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Around 18 rhinos were moved to Manas National Park somewhere in-between the years – 2008 and 2012 under IRV2020.

The endeavours to translocate rhinos have continued ever since.

Soumya Das
A postgraduate in English from The English and Foreign Languages University, Soumya possesses a knack for collecting critical information as well as putting it out in a structured manner. She believes that a firm and unwavering opinion on varied things, along with the capability of critical judgment is of paramount importance. A lover of offbeat books and movies, Soumya really wishes to make a difference in this morbid dystopia that we live in.

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