After a century of being trapped, speared, shot, electrocuted and de-horned alive, the Kaziranga rhino is talking. From its “death bed”.
Possibly jolted by images of a female rhino wobbling in pain — blood oozing from where her 3-kilo horn was sawed off — animal lovers have started an SMS campaign, in which the words of a dying rhino are being circulated.
The message goes: “You called me pride of Assam, you made me (33rd) National Games mascot, you tagged me endangered and promised me safety, you earned a living by showing me to the world, then why couldn’t you protect me. Shame on you.” It also urges receivers to move Unesco to de-recognise Kaziranga as a World Heritage Site.
There’s another campaign that talks about the need to “send all the rhinos to heaven” so that a government with a “hide as thick as the rhino” can “rest in peace”.
Kaziranga wore the Unesco heritage tag in 1985 along with Manas Tiger Reserve. The latter, however, was demoted in 1992 to World Heritage Site in Danger following large-scale deforestation and poaching. Twenty-five rhinos have been slaughtered in Kaziranga since February last. “These SMSes are the outpouring of anger at the state government that has not only failed to protect wildlife, but has the gall to refer to Kaziranga as the world’s greatest conservation success story,” said Soumyadeep Dutta of Nature’s Beckon.