WWF-India Archives - Rhino Review

Kevin Pietersen slams South African government’s aim to legalise rhino consumption

By Conservation
Aakash Saini, Republic World | May 8, 2020

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Former England captain Kevin Pietersen recently slammed the South African government for aiming to legalise the consumption of various animals in the country, which also includes the already threatened species of rhinoceros. Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the South African government is reportedly contemplating an amendment into the South Africa Meat Safety Act. The proposed amendment is likely to legalise the slaughter, consumption and trade of several species of animals, birds and reptiles.

Original photo as published by Republic World.

On May 8, Kevin Pietersen took to Twitter and slammed the South African government with a scathing tweet over the matter. In the caption, the 39-year old expressed his disgust and wrote: “This cannot happen!”. On May 6, the English veteran also slammed the World Health Organisation (WHO) for endorsing a medicine that could drive species like rhinos and tigers into extinction.

Kevin Pietersen is an ardent supporter of the preservation of rhinos. The stylish batsman opened up Umganu Lodge, a luxury resort in South Africa in 2018 that nurtures several endangered species in the country. Moreover, he also launched SORAI (Save Our Rhino Africa India) with popular Swiss company Hublot. The Save Our Rhino Africa India foundation is a Kevin Pietersen-established charity in Australia which supports the conservation of rhinoceros.

Rohit Sharma Welcomes Baby Rhino at Manas National Park

Indian limited-overs vice-captain Rohit Sharma and Englishman Kevin Pietersen are known to be good friends off the field. Like Kevin Pietersen, opening batsman Rohit Sharma is also a vivid advocate of the conservation of rhinoceros. The Indian limited-overs captain was appointed as an ambassador for the World Wide Fund for Nature in India, i.e. WWF India, in 2018. Quite recently, he took to Instagram and welcomed a baby rhino at the Manas National Park in Assam.

From 75 in 1905 to 3600 in 2020! India’s rhino population has increased by 35 times in 115 yrs

By Antipoaching, Conservation
Basit Aijaz, India Times | March 6, 2020

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While India’s efforts and struggles to conserve tiger population has been known, here is one of India’s most successful conservation stories: the population of one-horned rhinos has grown manifold over the years.

From a population of barely 75 in 1905, there were over 2,700 Indian rhinos (Rhinoceros unicornis) by 2012, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature–India (WWF-India), a global wildlife advocacy. The figure has now gone well past 3600 in 2020.

Greater one-horned, or Indian, rhinoceros once roamed from Pakistan to the Indo-Burmese border, and in parts of Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan. But by the beginning of the 20th century, hunting and habitat loss had reduced the species to fewer than 200 individuals in northern India and Nepal. Thanks to strict protection implemented by Indian and Nepalese authorities, the population has rebounded to more than 3,600 today.

Original photo as published by India Times. (INHABITAT)

In 2012, more than 91 per cent of Indian rhinos lived in Assam, according to WWF-India data. Within Assam, rhinos are concentrated within

Kaziranga national park, with a few in Pobitara wildlife sanctuary. Kaziranga is home to more than 91 per cent of Assam’s rhinos – and more than 80 per cent of India’s count — with a 2015 population census by Kaziranga park authorities revealing 2,401 rhinos within the park.

The increase in population has also been because of the receding poaching. Although rhino poaching peaked in India in 2013, when 41 of the herbivores were killed, it has declined since, largely because of better policing and protection by the Assam government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), according to Tito Joseph, programme manager of the anti-poaching programme at the Wildlife Protection Society of India, an NGO.

With rhinos are mainly concentrated in Kaziranga, there is certain risk to it as well – the park may have reached its carrying capacity and might not be able to support any more rhinos; and the entire species’ population could be decimated by a disease outbreak, natural disaster, or other acute threat.

In order to address the threat, rhinos from overcrowded areas, like Kaziranga National Park and Pabitora Wildlife Sanctuary, are being moved to other protected areas where they can breed. Along with continuing strict protection and community engagement, spreading Indian rhinos out among more protected areas will create a larger, safer, and more stable population.

So, rhinos need to move to ecologically similar but distant areas to ensure species survival, according to the Indian Rhino Vision 2020 programme (IRV2020), a collaborative effort between various organisations, including the International Rhino Foundation, Assam’s forest department, Bodoland Territorial Council, WWF-India, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

As many as 18 rhinos were translocated to Manas national park between 2008 and 2012 under IRV2020. The efforts to relocate rhinos has continue since. The growing population of rhinos is an indication of growing efforts to ensure the survival of the greater one-horned rhino.


Fresh plan to conserve rhinos in Assam (India)

By Conservation, Translocation
The Telegraph India | February 25, 2020

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A new rhino programme, Beyond 2020, is being planned in synergy with the National Rhino Conservation Strategy for India.

A source said the programme is being designed and will start once the Indian Rhino Vision (IRV) 2020 project ends in the middle of this year.

The IRV 2020 is a joint programme of the Assam department of environment and forests, WWF-India and the International Rhino Foundation (IRF) with support from the Bodoland Territorial Council, US Fish and Wildlife Service and the local communities.

The programme vision is to increase Assam’s rhino population to 3,000 by 2020 by wild-to-wild translocation from Kaziranga National Park and Pobitora wildlife sanctuary to Manas and Dibru Saikhowa National Parks as well as to Laokhowa and Burachopari wildlife sanctuaries.

The last translocation under IRV 2020 will be of two rhinos from Kaziranga to Manas. The rhinos will be captured from Kaziranga on February 29 and released in Manas on March 1, it was decided at a meeting on Monday, the source said adding that the target was to translocate 20 rhinos to Manas under IRV 2020, of which 18 have been sent. “Manas now has more than 40 rhinos which is a good population compared to some years back,” he added.

“The Assam government, WWF-India and the IRF will be there in the new programme too. A few more partners may come later,” the source said.

The National Rhino Conservation Strategy for India, launched in 2019, calls for active engagement between India and Nepal to conserve the greater one-horned rhino.

A forest department official said they have received a report of a rhino being injured at Kuklung in Manas. “It is being treated,” he said.