World Rhino Day – 22nd September

  • Every year on September 22, the world celebrates World Rhinoceros Day.
  • The World Rhinoceros Day was announced by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in 2010.
  • Meant for Asian and African species of rhinoceros, the day celebrates the animal and encourages people to take steps for its conservation.
  • One of the five rhinoceros species living in Africa and Asia have been declared ‘critically endangered’.
  • These species are- Javan Rhinos, Sumatran rhinos and black rhinos.
  • The White Rhinos have been declared ‘near threatened’ while one-horned rhinos are said to be vulnerable to extinction.
  • India is home to the largest number of Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros in the world with population in the range of 3000 animals in Assam, West Bengal and UP.
  • The National Rhino Conservation Strategy for India was launched last year to conserve the greater one-horned rhinoceros.
  • This is a first of its kind for the species in India which aims to work for the conservation of the species under five objectives.
  • The objectives include strengthening protection, expanding the distribution range, research and monitoring, and adequate and sustained funding.
  • One horned rhino was close to extinction with a population of less than 200 in the beginning of the 20th century.
  • It is the only large mammal species in Asia to be down-listed from endangered to vulnerable in the International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN Red list in 2008

Here are some interesting facts about rhinoceros-

  • Rhinos have very poor eyesight. However, their poor eyesight in compensated by other senses. Rhinos can smell and hear people even when they are 30 metres away.
  • Rhino horn comprises keratin. Keratin is a protein which forms the basis of human hair and nails.
  • The African rhinoceros has a symbiotic relationship with oxpeckers. The bird sits on the back of rhinos and eats ticks. The bird also raises an alarm when it senses danger.
  • A group of rhinoceros is referred to as a crash. Male rhinos are called bulls while females are called cows.
  • Rhinos mark their territories by defecating around them.