When it comes to the news about the forest, it is mostly about forest fire, but more than that, we see news of smuggling of various materials, and Rhino Horn is one of them. Recently two smugglers were arrested while smuggling the Rhino Horns out of Assam.
The Assam Government took a rare but excellent initiative by burning stocked 2,500 Rhino Horns of one-horned rhinoceros in a special organized ceremony on World Rhino Day, September 22.
The State Cabinet announced this function after the Forest Department’s ‘rhino horn verification’ program in the state.
The ceremony was organized in the Kaziranga National Park, and the Chief Minister of Assam, Mr. Himanta Biswa Sarma, attended the function as a Chief Guest; many other politicians were present during the ceremony. This ceremony was considered a “Milestone towards rhino conservation” and was conducted to clear all the myths related to the rhino horns.
It was made very clear to everyone, including the smugglers, that the rhino horns do not have any value. However, in the illegal market, the rhino horns get a very high price as it is used as a traditional medicine to cure cancer in the Chinese tradition. In contrast, in Vietnam, a rhino horn is considered the status symbol, increasing the demand for the rhino horns and motivating the smugglers.
All the Rhino horns were stored in the treasury over the decades as after the death of the rhino, either due to natural cause or any other reason, its horns are taken into custody by the Forest Department. This step took a long process as before burning down the horns, the horn verification operation took place. In the operation, the department examined more than 2,500 horns, and the majority of similar kinds were put aside, and unique ones were being preserved.
It was announced that it is illegal to sell the horns in the country, and instead, the rhino horns had been kept in treasuries for decaying when the decision to burn all the horns was taken; it was also announced that the rhino horns are not medicine.
This ceremony is unique as it took place for the first time, and no horns had previously been burned in such a public way. In the last few years, the case of smuggling of rhino horns increased. The years 2013 and 2014 had experienced 27 incidents each year – the highest numbers in the decade.
The cases have reduced a bit, and the department believes they will not let their guard down in protecting the rhinos. Earlier the one-horned rhinos were marked endangered, but now they fall under the vulnerable species. To keep an eye on the Rhinos and the other poaching activities, the Assamese Government appointed a Special Rhino Protection Force. After all, Kaziranga National Park has 2,413 rhinos, and there are abou 102 rhinos in Pobitro Wildlife Sanctuary, and 101 in Orang National Park.