The Unique-Horn-Bearer of the Rare Wilderness
“Rhinoceros”, isn’t everyone’s cup of tea because little do we know, little do we question about this brilliant creation of nature. Their rarity itself stands out to make them an important species that needs to be protected. “Rhino” stands for nose and “ceros” stands for horn and the name immediately visualizes the unique horn which is their iconic resemblance. More precisely it is the most valuable part that is often at risk of theft leading them to be endangered.
Evolving from the family of ‘Rhinocerotidae’, rhinos spend their life in swamps and forests. This incredible creature is one of the biggest animals in the world which consequently makes it a slow being in the wild. The largest of them is at least 2500kg and 1.8m tall. Surprisingly, despite their huge size and strength, these bulky beasts don’t prey on other animals for food. They’re 100% herbivores, and instead like to munch on lots of grass and plants at night, dawn, and dusk. Spends most of their time in solitude yet enjoy their time leisurely getting all mucky, wallowing in muddy pools, which is a source of natural sunblock and bug resistance. How wonderful after all even our fat unicorn cares for his attire. Though lonely most of the time, rhinos have feathered friends, the ‘Oxpeckers’, acting as skin protection as well as a personal alarm. Huge body, strong horns, and thick, amour-like skin, a sign of danger, a plus point to evade predators. Yet among all capabilities, they are easily frightened. Rhinos often surprisingly use pongy piles to communicate with each other, since each individual’s dung smells unique.
But where do we get to see these innocent, beasty looking creatures? African rhinos do ring a bell yet rhinos are distributed across Asia as well. Further, are they classified into species namely; Black rhino, Greater one-horned Rhino, Javan Rhino, Sumatran Rhino, and White Rhino. But they won’t last long as they are endangered by various consumer-driven demands. Poaching and habitat destruction is already pressurizing the rhino population. As aforementioned the horn is the sole reason for rhino poaching. The horns are sometimes sold as trophies or decorations, and more often used in traditional medicine. Although the international trade in rhino horn has been banned under the CITES convention, the horns ultimately find their way to the illegal markets. With the increasing demands in the international black market, Rhino poaching levels have accelerated over the years. The WWF (World Wildlife Fund for Nature) is already doing the best to preserve the existing rhinos and actions are being taken to tackle illegal trade of and demand for rhino horn through advocacy through certain loopholes do exist. Thanks to vigorous conservation, anti-poaching efforts, and the international ban on horn trade, some African rhino populations are now stable or increasing.
Rhinos have existed around for millions of years, which is beyond imagination. Being important grazers, they’ve been keeping a healthy balance within the ecosystem further molding the African landscape. After all one of Africa’s ‘big five’, it is a popular site for tourists. Therefore, assisting rhino protection isn’t just about conserving wildlife but also a source of income for the local communities. So isn’t it worth, preserving them for the generations to come?
These animals are the soul of the earth. You are a part of this nature as well so respect your roots. Once they disappear, there is no bringing back. Gear up! It’s time to raise your voice to save these majestic creations of nature!
By Rtr. Thiruni Withana