The International Rhino Foundation (IRF) has released the “State of the Rhino, 2023” report, which provides population estimates and trends for the five remaining rhino species in Africa and Asia. World Rhino Day is celebrated on September 22nd each year to raise awareness about these rhino species and conservation efforts, with its origins traced back to an announcement by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) – South Africa in 2010.
GS III: Environment and Ecology
Dimensions of the Article:
- Key Findings of the Report
- Conservation Efforts by India
Key Findings of the Report:
Poaching and Habitat Loss:
- Poaching remains a significant threat to all five rhino species, with increased activity in previously unaffected regions.
- South Africa is facing severe losses of its white rhino population due to poaching.
- Black rhino populations are growing despite ongoing poaching challenges.
- Climate change-induced drought in Africa is impacting rhino habitats.
Climate Impact in Asia:
- In Asia, increased precipitation and prolonged monsoons pose threats to rhinos and humans.
- Changing weather patterns can lead to invasive plant species displacing native rhino food sources and habitat degradation.
- The status of 12 out of approximately 76 remaining Javan rhinos is unknown.
- Sumatran Rhinos:
- It’s becoming increasingly difficult to detect signs of Sumatran rhinos, raising uncertainty about their population in the wild.
- Approximately 2,000 white rhinos from the “World’s Largest Rhino Farm” will be reintroduced into African wilderness areas.
Greater One-Horned Rhinos:
- Greater one-horned rhinos in India and Nepal continue to thrive due to strong protection efforts.
- Black rhinos in Africa have been rebounding with a robust growth rate despite significant poaching losses.
- With appropriate interventions, all five rhino species can recover and flourish in a changing world.
- Implement a comprehensive strategy to protect rhinos, addressing poaching, habitat conservation, community engagement, capacity building, demand reduction, advocacy, and wildlife trafficking prevention.
Conservation Efforts by India:
- Rhino Translocations: The translocation of rhinos to Manas National Park, initially planned for 2023, was postponed to 2024. Security measures were strengthened following the discovery of a poached rhino in January.
- Orang National Park Expansion: In 2022, the Assam government expanded Orang National Park by approximately 200 sq km in north-central Assam, effectively doubling its size. This expansion connects Orang National Park to Burhachapori Wildlife Sanctuary, creating a linked corridor between multiple protected areas in Assam that are home to rhinos.
- New Delhi Declaration: India, Bhutan, Nepal, Indonesia, and Malaysia signed the New Delhi Declaration, a commitment to conserve and protect rhino species.
- DNA Profiling: A project aimed at creating DNA profiles for all rhinos to combat poaching and gather evidence for wildlife crime cases involving rhinos.
- National Rhino Conservation Strategy: Launched in 2019, this strategy is dedicated to conserving the greater one-horned rhinoceros.
- Indian Rhino Vision 2020: An ambitious initiative to increase the wild population of greater one-horned rhinos to at least 3,000 across seven protected areas in the Indian state of Assam by the year 2020.
-Source: The Hindu