In news: According to a recent study, published in the latest edition of People and Nature by the British Ecological Society, which used an interesting research approach—analysing artwork and photographs of the animal spanning more than five centuries.
- It relied on a repository of images maintained by the Netherlands-based Rhino Research Centre (RRC).
- Found evidence for declining horn length over time across species, perhaps related to selective pressure of hunting, and indicating a utility for image-based approaches in understanding societal perceptions of large vertebrates and trait evolution
- The horns of rhinoceroses may have become smaller over time due to the impact of hunting.
- The study found that the rate of decline in horn length was highest in the critically-endangered Sumatran rhino and lowest in the white rhino of Africa, which is the most commonly found species both in the wild and in captivity.
- This observation follows patterns seen in other animals, such as tusk size in elephants and horn length in wild sheep, which have been driven down by directional selection due to trophy hunting.
- During the age of European imperialism (between the 16th and 20th centuries), rhinos were commonly portrayed as hunting trophies, but since the mid-20th century, they have been increasingly portrayed in a conservation context, reflecting a change in emphasis from a more to less consumptive relationship between humans and rhinos.
- The Indian rhino featured more in early artwork, but the number of images of other species, particularly white rhinos, has increased since the mid-19th century.
- Rhinos have long been hunted for their horns, which are highly valued in some cultures.
- The five surviving rhino species (Black and White African rhino, Asian rhino species – greater one horned, Sumatran and Javan rhinos) are still threatened by habitat loss and hunting.
- IUCN Status:
- Greater one horned Rhino: Vulnerable
- Sumatran Rhino: Critically Endangered
- Javan Rhino: Vulnerable
- Black African Rhino: Critically Endangered
- White African Rhino: Near Threatened
Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros:
- Also known as Indian rhino, it is the largest of the rhino species.
- India is home to the largest number of Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros in the world.
- At present, there are about 2,600 Indian rhinos in India, with more than 90% of the population concentrated in Assam’s Kaziranga National Park.
- The species is restricted to small habitats in Indo-Nepal terai and northern West Bengal and Assam.
- In India, rhinos are mainly found in
- Kaziranga NP, Pobitora WLS, Orang NP, Manas NP in Assam,
- Jaldapara NP and Gorumara NP in West Bengal
- Dudhwa TR in Uttar Pradesh.
- Poaching for the horns
- Habitat loss
- Population density
- Decreasing Genetic diversity
- IUCN Red List: Vulnerable.
- CITES: Appendix-I
- Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule I.
Source: The Hindu
Previous Year Question
Q.1) Consider the following statements: (2019)
- Asiatic lion is naturally found in India only.
- Double-humped camel is naturally found in India only.
- One-horned rhinoceros is naturally found in India only.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- 1 and 3 only
- 1, 2 and 3