Adyar Bakery - since 1952
Vol 5 Issue 35, Aug 29 - Sep 4, 2014
    Citizen Reporters      |   | Submit Story
Green WarriorsSocial EntrepreneursUnsung Heroes

Indian rhinos facing threat of extinction: Experts

   By  Sanjeeb Baruah
   Guwahati
03 Sep 2014
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:

The daring four

Change is in the air. Taboos are being broken. Two tribal villages in Orissa are seeing a social revolution as four young girls dared to defy customs and educate other children. Sarada Lahangir brings the story of change in rural India

Read More

Billed gates

In a novel scheme to improve infrastructure of government schools in Punjab, the government has offered to inscribe names of donors on the entry gates of the adopted schools, says Jinderjeet

Read More

Stephen Cars
FPJs Meet Vidyaakar
adyar bakery
 
Mentoring Tamil Nadu



Popular Stories

Versatile rubber

Making use of rubber’s versatility, some scientists in Bhubaneswar have developed a ‘rubberised’ check dam. Kavita Kanan Chandra checks out the benefits of replacing concrete and cement with rubber and where all the new technology is going

Read More

Beautiful dream

Creating 3000 salons, 1000 women entrepreneurs and 50,000 jobs by 2020 is the dream of C K Kumaravel, who, despite hailing from a business family, had to start on his own. P C Vinoj Kumar traces the growth of Naturals beauty salons founder

Read More

Touching base

New York-born Ajaita Shah once applied for fellowship to work in India. Then she came back and also launched Frontier Markets to serve base of the pyramid households. Souzeina S Mushtaq spoke to the 29-year-old who knows the needs of villages

Read More

Donor par excellence

P Kalyansundaram, who donated his lifetime salary for charity, has inspired social workers in Tamil Nadu for years. P C Vinoj Kumar meets the happy man whose name is synonymous with simplicity

Read More

People’s doctor

Dr V Shanta heads the Adyar Cancer Institute in Chennai. Active even at 87 years, she talks to Manasa Ramraj about her childhood inspiration, adding: ‘Doctors must learn to treat their patients as human beings and not as mere commodities.’

Read More

Ticket to dream

It was no wild goose chase for Arun Athiappan, when he co-founded TicketGoose.com, a bus ticket booking portal. He always wanted to be an entrepreneur and has been losing sleep to come up with new ideas since he was 12, says P C Vinoj Kumar

Read More

From scrap

By professionalizing the otherwise unorganized scrap market, two MBA students, Apoorva Chaturvedi and Yogesh Sood, have changed the image of the man coming home to buy old newspapers. Asad Ashraf logs on to kabaadiwala.com to check the profit

Read More

Turn crafts

Jharcraft saved ethnic arts and crafts of Jharkhand, stopped traditional weavers and artisans from migrating to cities and gave a sheen to silk production. Kavita Kanan Chandra reports the miracle, attributed to IFS officer Dhirendra Kumar

Read More

Must in Delhi

More than being the hub of power, Delhi has a lot to offer for a visitor. Souzeina S Mushtaq recommends 15 must-see places in India's bustling capital, which is home to over 22 million people

Read More

For farmers

Two IITians, Shashank Kumar and Manish Kumar, went to villages and set up a social enterprise that has touched the lives of hundreds of farmers in Bihar. Kavita Kanan Chandra tells us about their work and innovative agricultural management

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.