Rhino horn stockpiles burnt on World Rhino Day
Rhinos are one of the world’s most iconic mammals and have lived on the planet for around 40 million years. They are famous for their horn which has become a high value wildlife product sold on the Asian black market for the false belief that it has medical properties and as a status symbol. Find out more about the rhino trade here.
With consumer demand higher than ever, the Assam government made the bold decision last week to burn rhino horn stockpiles on World Rhino Day to highlight horns should not be used for medicinal purposes and that the killing of rhinos is unacceptable. DSWF have been proud supporters of two rhino species since our inception over 35 years ago.
DSWF’s long partner, Dr Bibhab Kumar Talukdar, Chief Executive of our ground-based conservation partner Aaranyak, describes how Assam could become a leader in rhino conservation “Assam has shown its successes in the field of rhino conservation in past one hundred years and have also generated expertise for conservation and management of rhinos under challenging circumstances”.
Regarded as the epitome of conservation in Assam for over one hundred years, the one horned rhino came back from a population of just 20 at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Assam currently has 2,650 rhinos in the wild at Kaziranga National Park, Orang NP, Pabitora WLS and Manas NP. It is assumed over the past three years rhino populations have increased by 3-5% per year.
World Rhino Day
World Rhino Day, which takes place on the 22nd September each year, is designed to spread conservation awareness around the need to protect five species of rhino from extinction. This year’s World Rhino Day is particularly significant for Assam, a province in North Eastern India, as it is home to 70% of the world’s population of the Greater One Horned rhino.
Due to its significance, the Assam government decided to dispose of rhino horn stockpiles to highlight rhino horns should not be used as medicine. Dr Bibhab Kumar Talukdar saw some 2,479 rhino horns burned. A further 94 horns with unique characteristics will be kept for scientific and display purposes.
Over the past 100 years, Assam has shown its successes in the field of rhino conservation which includes ensuring the appropriate level of expertise is in place for conservation and the management of rhino populations. For over 20 years, David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) have been supporting ground-based conservation partners in Assam to protect the Greater One Horned rhino. Rhino poaching has reduced from 41 killed in 2003 to three in 2019 and two in 2020. However, poaching threats continue to remain visible with essential work required to improve the grassland and wetland habitats in rhino bearing areas.
DSWF has a holistic approach to conservation and we continue to provide an unwavering voice for endangered species from funding anti-poaching operations in India to demand reduction campaigns in Vietnam. Find out how you can help DSWF protect this remarkable species.