Rhinos are one of the largest most beautiful creatures in the world, and they need help! My mom is a naturalist and much like her my heart breaks to see the dwindling number of these gentle and majestic beasts in the wild. I have a weird fascination as well as attachment with nature and wildlife, and Rhinos are no different. There are in total 5 major types of Rhinos, the 2 African Rhinos distinguished by their colours, Black and White, and the 3 Asian Rhinos, one-horned Indian Rhinos, the endangered Javan and Sumatran Rhinos. They have always been a subject of my interest probably because my state, Assam, is the natural abode of the rare Rhinoceros Unicornis a.k.a one-horned armoured rhinos or Indian rhinos who have been marked as "threatened" in wildlife. Mascots of Assam, they are mostly protected at the Kaziranga National Park with 2/3rd of the world's one-horned rhino population inhabiting here. They are quite docile in general and are not known to openly attack people. They remind me of the great ancestors long gone, the dinosaurs, with their scaly armoured hide and horns made of pure keratin just like our hair and nails.
But Indian Rhinos as well as White Rhinos are not the subject of my concern today, it is the other three. To start with, the African Black Rhino are extremely endangered, as a matter of fact their subspecies, the Western Black Rhinos, have been declared completely extinct in 2011! Then there are the Asian Javan and the little hairy Sumatran Rhinos (not actually little, just the smallest of the lot and quite fairy like a baby elephant) who are also at critical stage of existence with only 40 of the Javan Rhinos remaining in Java as of 2009, and about 200 of Sumatran Rhinos reported as of 2011!!!! There is no explaining how sad I feel to acknowledge these facts. But what I absolutely cannot stand is the ignorant poaching of these gentle giants for their horns that are considered "medicinal" by some oafs who have no idea that rhinos posses no such power and have sadly been scavenged for their horns for years for ignorance, false beliefs and superstitions, also for the disgusting satisfaction of some illegal a-holes to own an authentic horn in the black market. This alone has caused the number of rhinos to dwindle 100 holds.
But it must change, it has to change! In fact people have started to take actions bit by bit. Just in 2013 Marwell Wildlife in Southampton celebrated their 40th anniversary with sculptures of colourful Rhinos in a champaign named Go! Rhinos Campaign with a total of 90 lovely Rhinos exhibited all across the city for 10 whole weeks during the summer. Here are some of the pictures I captured in town while at the workshop and before they were sent off for exhibition…
This one is now at the University of Southampton under the Electronics and Computer Science department. It is even programmed to interact with human.
And here is me in the summer of 2013 by the Rhinos
This one was exhibited by the Titanic Seacity Museum.
A few clicks from the rhino painting workshop:
Check all the rhinos out here.