With its thick coat, legs like pillars, and compact body, this animal has long garnered admiration. Rhinos have a single horn on the front of their nose that has fascinated onlookers and placed them in awe along with elephants, tigers and lions, and of course whales.
Rhinos have existed for around 50 million years. Their natural habitat consists of thick evergreen forest where the food is plenty. Tragically, these gigantic creatures are critically endangered.
We can compare their size to a hippopotamus, however, hippos are very timid and weak, and prone to attacks from wild animals and crocodiles.
From all the above factors I find rhino a very interesting and fascinating animal.
It feels sad when I recognize the fact that this animal is critically endangered. One of the major reasons is loss of natural forest area which is its habitat, to human exploitation. Other reasons are poaching of the animal for its horn. It is said the horn has medicinal values. Rhinos are hunted down by humans for their valuable horns, which would fetch them a huge fortune. In South Africa, over thousand rhino were killed for their horns. These horns have a insatiable demand for ornaments and traditional medical purposes. A single rhino horn is sold for an average of $60,000!
The IUCN Red List (International Union for Conservation of Nature) identified three species of Rhinos as critically endangered. To save Rhino, IUNC has declared 22nd September as World Rhino Day. There are many organization which try to protect Rhino from extinction. Kaziranga, Orang and Manas National Parks and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary are established in Assam, India. There were only 3,333 one horned Rhinos in the whole world in 2012. Assam was the state which had around 75% of the whole world one horned Rhino population, which is almost 2500. And good news is that this number is increasing year by year. At present, there are around 2700 Rhinos in Assam. This whole process is taking place under IRV2020 project (India Rhino Vision by year 2020). Organization like Fish and Wildlife conservation in US, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife in South Africa also play a major role in helping Rhino to survive. Indian Govt. has passed a special bill which enables the forest guards to kill the illegal poachers, sending a clear message of how serious they are about protecting the rhino.
If rhinos meet the dodo in extinction, we lose the natural link of evolution between many species. This disturbs the whole food web and create a path for the extinction of many other species. We are all interconnected. If any one species disappears from the food web, it creates a threat to all the other species. This means that every species is important. This is the lesson we must understand! This is what the rhino can teach us.
The time to stand up is now! We must take action towards protection of these great creatures. Rhinos are very near to the end of the cliff. “But how to begin?” is the question we often face at the beginning. We have to educate people about the good reasons to save Rhinos and should not get their attention on the tempting prize of Rhino horns. In this generation, social media can help to spread good words and bring awareness in people.
If you have some ideas, feel free to email For All The Animals. Write to jasper at foralltheanimals dot com.