600+ youngsters, 200+ community members participate in three programs held across the state’s landscapesTezpur, Assam: The population of the greater one-horned rhino, the State animal of Assam, has been under immense stress for survival since the 1990s owing to incessant poaching. A high demand for rhino horn in the black market has led to a global poaching crisis threatening rhino populations across the world. Since 2010, as part of a comprehensive conservation effort to save the rhino, September 22 is celebrated as World Rhino Day annually.
This year, awareness programs were organized for school students in Assam at Kaziranga National Park, Manas National Park and Laokhowa-Burachapori Wildlife Sanctuary. More than 600 students and 200 community members participated in the day's celebrations. Special essay-writing and drawing competitions kept the children engrossed for hours. Screenings of wildlife and conservation films were also received with great enthusiasm.
Events that were most appreciated included:
- A 3 km awareness rally in the western portion of Laokhowa-Burachapori Wildlife Sanctuary. Nearly 300 students, conservation volunteers and forest personnel participated in the rally.
- An intensive debate following the rally, which brought out the importance of the future generations’ involvement in conservation.
- A fascinating talk by local wildlife expert Mr. Dhanjit Das in Manas National Park, where in he discussed some real life incidents as a wildlifer and his conviction in wildlife and forest conservation.
- An interactive session on rhino conservation led by Tridip Sharma and Sarkam Rongphar of WWF-India in Kaziranga National Park.
In all the locations, WWF-India held focused sessions to raise awareness on the Indian Rhino Vision 2020 project and its work towards rhino conservation. Such interactive events have helped WWF-India develop a bond with the local communities and especially involve the younger generations in conservation issues.
WHAT IS WORLD RHINO DAY
- WWF has marked September 22 as the World Rhino Day, and calls for an end to the rhino poaching crisis on this day.
- The day was launched by WWF-South Africa in 2010 and is observed by Africa and Asia every year.
- It celebrates five surviving species of rhino: black, white, greater one-horned, Sumatran and Javan rhinos.
- WWF-India’s Assam landscapes (North Bank and Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong) celebrate the annual event by holding various awareness activities bringing together communities, the forest departments and local conservation organisations.
Deba Kumar Dutta, Sr. Project Officer, WWF-India, Tezpur: email@example.com
Nitya Kaushik, Senior Communications Manager, Species and Landscapes, WWF-India: firstname.lastname@example.org