When the number of Indian One-Horned Rhinos is declining at an alarming rate, and environmentalists and animal lovers across the globe are trying their level best to raise the awareness of the impending doom that is awaiting all of us if the eco system is disturbed, one ray of hope has suddenly emerged amidst this appalling situation. A nationwide government census has found that this rare species of rhinos have shown an increase in numbers, contrary to the belief and trend that these animals are in the vicinity of extinction in the near future. Field observers have found that there are approximately 408 rhinos in the Royal Chitwan National Park in Nepal, which had 372 rhinos in the year 2005. This National Park in Nepal is amongst the few preferred habitats of this endangered species, and the heartwarming news is that the numbers of rhinos in other National Parks of Nepal have also remained stable.
A healthier sex ratio as well as gradual improvements in habitat management have augmented increase in rhino numbers. The stringent anti-poaching measures adopted recently after a decade long Maoist insurgency in Nepal have also facilitated this upward rise.
The Indian rhino, also known as the great one-horned rhinoceros, once roamed through large parts of South Asia. Its horn is reputed to have aphrodisiac properties and can be worth thousands of dollars in China’s traditional-medicine market.
In India, Kaziranga National Park in Assam has about 2000 one-horned rhinos out of the estimated global population of 3000, but there has been a surge of poaching activities leading to an alarming decrease in their numbers. A recent spate of rhino killings prompted Nepal’s government and conservation authorities in February to enhance anti-poaching measures and launch the latest census.
It is indeed heartening to know that at least some countries are taking serious steps to deploy anti poaching measures and getting positive results. Sadly and ironically, in India our attention is too much focused on the tiger, with the media creating a lot of hoopla for a particular species of animals. Though, tiger population is depleting very fast and it is a matter of concern, we are unaware of the fact that decades of poaching and habitat destruction has led to a serious downfall in the number of these one horned rhinos who now live in fragmented pockets in parts of Nepal and North Eastern India.
We should act fast before our next generation gets information about these animals from the internet and sees only the pictures!
source:National Geographic news