Motivational Video
Vol 7 Issue 26, Jun 24 - 30, 2016
    Citizen Reporters      |   | Submit Story
Green WarriorsSocial EntrepreneursUnsung Heroes

Indian rhinos facing threat of extinction: Experts

   By  Sanjeeb Baruah
   Guwahati
01 Jul 2016
Posted 15-Oct-2012
Vol 3 Issue 41

A thriving market in east and southeast Asia in illegal wildlife products, particularly among cultures that prize the rhino horn for its magical or medicinal qualities, are driving the rhinoceroses to extinction, say experts.

China, Vietnam and Thailand are major consumers of rhino horn, fuelling the mass killing of rhinos across their ranges in India and elsewhere, they said.

A one-horned rhino at Kaziranga National Park (Photo : Prabal Sarkar/ Wildlife Trust of India)

Assam's Kaziranga National Park, the world's last major refuge of one-horned rhino, saw two massive floods this year. The flooding of the Brahmaputra river wreaked havoc in the park first during July-August and again in September.

Over 600 animals died in the first wave, and about 130 more perished in the second. But not all were drowned. Some rhinos fleeing the flood fell victims to poachers.

"As the reward for rhino horn shot up, many ex-militants have joined the ranks," says a senior official of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), requesting anonymity.

"Use of automatic weapons is of particular concern, as it shows the poachers' increasing sophistication," he said.

Kaziranga, despite being one of the best-protected reserves in the country, faces a daunting task "because poachers are even ready to face the bullet", said Tito Joseph of the NGO Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI).

The 800-plus sq km Kaziranga park, is a world heritage site and is home to elephants, tigers, slow loris and swamp deer, among others.

This year, 15 rhinoceroses were killed in the Kaziranga landscape, said Joseph.

"Poachers cut the tail and ear of the rhino to prove to the buyers that the horn is genuine," he said.

"We believe the rhino horns from recent poaching are still in the country," the WCCB official said.

Border guards and other enforcement agencies have been alerted, he said.

Dimapur town in Nagaland is a hub of this trade, and from there rhino horns are trafficked through Myanmar out of the country.

"China and Vietnam don't have rhinoceroses, hence they source the rhino horn from India. Traditionally, these markets depended on Africa but a new source was always welcome," the official said.

South Africa, another major rhino range country, which earns huge revenues from wildlife tourism, has lost over 400 rhinos to poaching since January.

Despite best security measures in sanctuaries like Kruger National Park, poaching continues.

"This shows the money poachers are being offered," said Joseph. "Rising income of the middle class in consumer countries is fuelling the rhino horn trade," he said.

"Many of these countries do have laws to prevent the sale of wildlife articles, but their enforcement is often lax," said Joseph.

The rhino horn is made up of calcium, melanin and keratin, the same substance as human hair and nails. Calcium deposits make the horn core stronger, and melanin protects the core from the sun's UV rays, experts say.

But some cultures prize the rhino horn for magical qualities, while others used them as dagger handles or good luck charms.

The one-horned rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis) is today found only in India and Nepal. It has been exterminated in Bangladesh. India, with some 2,500 rhinoceroses, is their main home. Nepal has about 370 rhinos.

The African black and white rhinos are bigger bodied compared to their Asian counterparts, but they are equally threatened.

It is estimated that the trade in wildlife body parts is only third to arms and narcotics, a grim reminder of the threats rhinos face. - IANS



Print  |  Email  | 
 Share   

You might also like:

Unhappy times

Is the present generation, with all its snazzy gadgets and modern comforts, an unhappy lot? So says a new study that found that both men and women in 30s were lot happier in 1970s than today

Read More

Autumn glow

To fill in the gaps in the lives of the elderly in cities, whose children work elsewhere, a Pune-based woman started a service called Maya Care. R Savitha checks out what it is all about

Read More

Stories on Innovations & Innovators
The Lead Star Digital Issue
adyar bakery
 
Mentoring Tamil Nadu



Popular Stories

Cool relief

Overhearing a home tutor’s physics lecture to his son, Ashis Paul of Grey Dhaka designed a cooling devise, bringing relief to poor Bangladeshis reeling under heat without power, says G Singh

Read More

Sworn benefactor

At the funeral of his brother in 1963, Deo Kumar Saraf swore not to let poverty-struck people die due to lack of medical care. Today, his Anandalok group of hospitals challenge corporate hospitals with their affordable charges, says G Singh

Read More

Nostalgic ride

A last vestige of colonial era, an antique train with wooden coaches still chugs on India’s only private railway line in Maharashtra. Narendra Kaushik traces the journey of Shakuntala Express

Read More

Flattening a myth

Dispelling the long held belief that flat-footed persons cannot excel in sports, Dipa Karmakar has become the first Indian woman gymnast to qualify for the Olympics. Partho Burman tracks the bumpy road the Tripura athlete had travelled so far

Read More

River revival

Noyyal, the river that fed the fertile western Tamil Nadu, is today polluted and dry most of the time. To rejuvenate the dead Noyyal, Vanitha Mohan is on an eco-mission. P C Vinoj Kumar profiles her on the occasion of World Environment Day

Read More

Wigs of compassion

A cancer patient’s elation over the wig he had made for her changed Marishetty Kumar’s life.  The wigmaker who made wigs for actors now sells his creations for a discounted price to those who lose hair due to chemotherapy, says Usha Prasad

Read More

Water winner

The ups and downs of B M Balakrishna’s life are linked to water. Starting as a car washer, he went to sell water pumps and then founded a RO plant. S Sainath meets the owner of Rs 20 crore Aquapot that is set to double its turnover this year

Read More

Poor’s banker

The son of a poor sweet shop owner, Chandra Shekhar Ghosh today sweetens the lives of women in poverty stricken homes with loans. G Singh traces the incredibly phenomenal rise of the founder of Bandhan Bank that has Rs.12,500 crore deposit now

Read More

Chef Robot

A love for dosas led to two friends in college fabricate an automatic dosa maker that is making waves by enabling chefs roast the crispy dosas that they were earlier not able to make outside Tamil Nadu. Usha Prasad has the interesting story

Read More

Nursing small towns

After experiencing the trials and tribulations of people from small towns and villages in seeking medical facilities, Dinesh Batra vowed to take specialised health care to smaller places. Today he is living his dreams, says Narendra Kaushik

Read More
 
Kudos image

"The Weekend Leader not only gives a glimpse of the better things happening around us but also tells stories of people who made it possible.”

Ajay Chaturvedi, Entrepreneur More Kudos
 
Archives  |   Columns  |   About Us  |   Contact Us  |   Feedback  |   Response  |     |   Cheers!  |   Support Us  |   Friends of Positive Journalism
© Copyright The Weekend Leader.com, 2010. All rights reserved.