Cricketer Kevin Pietersen in India to Save Rhinoceros

Kevin Pietersen,The former England International cricket player. The decade long career as a player to England fetched him a good reputation worldwide. The Right-handed batsman still holds the record for being the fastest player to cross 2,000 runs in One Day International cricket. The Times called him “the most complete batsman in cricket” and The Guardian called him “England’s greatest modern batsman”. Now, after being retired from Cricket he turned to become conservationist of great rhinos worldwide.

He started his life as a conservationist at Kruger National park in South Africa learning more about the rhinos. He was deeply disappointed by the rhinos death due to poaching by traffickers for their ivory and other vulnerabilities for rhinos. On his mission to save rhinos worldwide, he came to India to make a significant contribution to the great One-Horned rhino in Kaziranga National Park, Assam.

https://www.savethisrhino.com/home2
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Kaziranga National Park

Kaziranga National park is located in the northeastern state of Assam on the banks of a Brahmaputra river. Also, the area is a UNESCO World Heritage site protected by all its conventions. The park is a marshland with tall grass and a dense tropical moist broadleaf forest. The park is categorised under the Eastern Himalaya Biodiversity Hotspot. It is home to the world’s two-third one-horned rhinoceros. It has the highest density of tigers elsewhere in the world. As a reserve forest, it celebrated the centennial in 2005.

The Kaziranga National Park is famous for its BIG Five: Tiger, Rhino, Elephant, Buffalo and Swamp Deer. The Kaziranga is very diverse in its nature in species live here. The animals were vulnerable to poachers easily from the river tributaries of Brahmaputra. Poachers look for ivory and skin which is sold in the black market for millions of dollars. The trafficked animal and ivory are used in traditional medicines and status for their richness.

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One Horned Rhinoceros

Kaziranga is home to 2/3rd of world’s rhinos. The great one-horned rhino is native to the Indian subcontinent and is listed as vulnerable in IUCN RED list. Scientifically it is termed as Carl Linnaeus. There is a steep decline in rhino numbers from the past years due to poaching. However, due to early conservation programs, the numbers increased from the late 1960s. An estimated, a little more than 2400 rhinos live in Kaziranga national park. The Rhino is a Unique brand Icon for Assam state.

How vulnerable are Rhinoceros?

In his mission, Kevin Pietersen revealed that the main reason rhinos are killed for their horn. The horn is sold in the black market for million dollars which are used in traditional medicines and to showcase their status. The first line poachers are local men who live in nearby villages. The villagers were poor and are given money to poach. These horns were collected by illegal traffic dealers that are sold in the black market or even exported to the international black market. Many nearby village men think it is a cheap and easy way to earn.

Employment and Rehabilitation The people nearby always look for an easy way to earn and live. Many families form a group and graze lands that reduce the parking area. The loss of habitat and food for wild animals is rising animal conflict. Some NGOs are trying to provide rehabilitation and employment to people which really makes a great difference. Activists like Uttam Saikia are doing an awareness programme in local communities. Organic farming and eco-tourism organisations are a good source of employment. Some communities form an eco-tourism organisation to host tourists.

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Floods of Brahmaputra: The annual floods of Brahmaputra river completely merges the Kaziranga park. The animal ara forced to move to the upland areas such as terrains and roads. The rhinos are good swimmers and have high capability to survive. However, their cubs are most vulnerable to floods. The cubs can’t swim for a long time, wash away and gets separated from mother. The same with other animals which look after trees, upland areas. Most animals move to specific upland corridors when it floods. The flood warning system is useful to some extent but it is not possible to relocate all animals.

Highways & roads: Many roads and highways pass through the park. There is no passage either for animals or vehicles which makes animals vulnerable to vehicle collisions. The Full-time movement of vehicles is giving very less time for animals to cross, migrate to another area at any time or if it is flooding. An estimated 30-40 rhinos were dead in 2017 flooding when they were unable to cross highways. The Kaziranga authority proposed an elevated road so that the animals could pass safely.

Villages and Housing: An estimated 50000 families live adjoining Kaziranga. The increase in population will always increase human conflict. Further, the villages act as barriers to the movement of animals and grazing lands for farming is a loss of habitat to all wildlife. This reason is considered to be main for human-animal conflict. The loss of habitat forces to migrate for food and creates stress that leads to conflict.

Above all Climate change could become a threat to both humans and wildlife. Nonetheless, Kevin Pietersen has made a notable contribution to the world community. He made the technology available to save the rhino. Working and coordinating many stakeholders on a common platform to save the great Indian one-horned rhino is a good cause not only to Kaziranga but the entire Mankind.

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