The beginning of the 20th century had seen 500000 rhinos all across Africa, Asia, and Europe. Then in the 1970s the number drastically dropped to 70000. Today we have only 27000 rhinos all across the globe. Where have they gone? What has happened to them? Poaching and habitat loss due to rapid urbanization have wiped off the majority of the rhinos from the face of the earth. They are endangered species, threatened with extinction. That is why it is highly essential that awareness about rhinos must be spread among people. Let's make a promise to save Rhinos on Word Rhino Day, 22nd September.
Types of Rhinos and Where They are found
There are 5 broad types of rhinos alive today- Black Rhino, Greater One-horned or Indian Rhino, Javan Rhino, Sumatran Rhino, and White Rhino. Black Rhino, Javan Rhino, and Sumatran Rhino comprise only 2-3% of the total rhino population. The Continent of Africa has the maximum number of wild rhinos in the world today. Most wild African rhinos are now found in South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Tanzania.
Asia's success story of rhino conservation is an example to share. From 200 rhinos in the early 20th century, Asia now has 3700 rhinos, successfully making the animal vulnerable species from endangered. India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Indonesia have wild rhinos in the National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries. There are several zoos and semi-sanctuaries across the globe which try to create a natural habitat for rhinos and conserve them. These zoos are important to increase awareness about rhinos among common people. And World Rhino Day is a reminder of it.
Spreading Awareness about Rhinos among Children
Large biodiversity is crucial for the Balance of Nature where every animal, even the tiniest one, is important for the world to be stable. Children are the future and their formative minds need to be directed on the right path. Schools can begin by instilling these ideas into young minds through various types of programs in or outside the curriculum. World Rhino Day is a good reminder of it.
Environmental Education is compulsory today in most countries and should be taken to a step higher by involving the children in various activities. Visiting the zoo and museums to learn about rhinos, workshops of art and crafts where they make posters about the protection of rhinos, and reading, storytelling, and/ or telecasting movies or documentaries on these endangered species will be helpful in imbibing in the young minds a conservationist mindset.
Spreading Awareness about Rhinos among People Sharing Habitat with Them
People who share their habitat with the rhinos are mostly tribes and are extremely poor. They are the people whom poachers use for a very little amount of money. For their livelihood and sustainability, some from these tribes help the poachers. They are not even aware of the consequences. The first and foremost way is to train these people about habitat protection and provide them with an alternate source of income. Let's focus on this initiative on World Rhino Day.
Awareness about rhinos together with a reduction of poverty in these regions is the key to the successful conservation of rhinos. Here the government, United Nations (WWF, UNICEF), and other non-profit NGOs come into play. Often translocation of tribal villages is done and some of the areas with rhinos are declared protected areas or sanctuaries and the locals are offered jobs. Semi-wild sanctuaries enable successful captive breeding under thorough monitoring and protection.
Fear of Punishment
There is a strict ban on rhino killing all across the globe. Stringent monitoring can prevent poaching. Poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking are punishable crimes and heavy fine is levied. The government should spread words in such a manner that fear of such punishments is instilled in the minds. Rhinos are killed mostly for their horns which are used to make decorative items curved out of them, for medicinal values, and also for hoarding them because of some superstitious beliefs. It should be ensured that the demand for rhino horn and bush meat ends. Let us utilize World Rhino Day to prevent such misdeeds.
Once awareness about rhinos is spread widely, there will be an increasing number of people in the world who would care for them. There are various methods to save and conserve rhinos. One can donate, adopt and arrange a fundraiser. Volunteering at National Parks and Sanctuaries is also common in African countries. At least one can buy souvenirs that aid in the rhino conservation campaign. Our greed has brought these majestic beasts to the verge of extinction and so we must rectify ourselves before it is too late.
As we observe World Rhino Day today (22nd September) let us promise to be more aware of rhinos, spread awareness, and do something which will help both humans and rhinos to coexist in this beautiful world, for generations to come. This year's theme is to keep the 5 types of rhinos alive- ‘Five Rhino Species Forever'. Let's do it together.
A versatile writer and travel freak, discovering the world in her own casual way. Loves to immerse into the core of Mother Nature and extract her inherent beauty.