Star Indian batsman Rohit Sharma is launching Rohit4Rhinos campaign, in partnership with WWF India and Animal Planet, to help build awareness for the need to conserve the Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros or the Indian Rhino. In a campaign launching on Animal Planet to commemorate World Rhino Day on 22 September, Rohit pledges to do his bit to save the “vulnerable” species from extinction.
Rohit Sharma joined WWF India as its Brand Ambassador for Rhino Conservation in 2018. With leading wildlife channel, Animal Planet, now joining the cause, the team has set out to create awareness and sensitize India about the species and the need for its conservation. Animal Planet will run a series of path breaking programs during ‘Rhino Week’ to sensitize people about these gentle giants. A special page, www.rohit4rhinos.org is also being created to strengthen the campaign, through which viewers can pledge their support to the cause.
Talking about Rhino conservation campaign, Rohit Sharma, said, “It is our duty as co-inhabitants of this planet to try and protect other species that walk this planet, alongside us. The future is in our hands and we should do whatever we can to ensure that our children are able to enjoy the rich biodiversity this world has to offer. I hope that this campaign will inspire others to come forward and join Animal Planet, WWF India and I in this endeavor to save the Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros.”
“Discovery has long been committed to telling the stories and protecting the creatures that make our planet extraordinary. We remain steadfast to leverage the brand strength of India’s leading wildlife channel Animal Planet to galvanize people power for the cause of endangered species, said, Megha Tata, Managing Director – South Asia, Discovery. “We are confident that Rohit’s strong support for the cause of Rhino conservation will help more people to join us for the cause of saving these gentle giants.”
“WWF India would like to thank Rohit Sharma for being the voice of conservation and for his continuous support in raising awareness about the greater one-horned rhinos. Decades old stories of rhino conservation success in India need to be told and we believe that the campaign #Rohit4Rhinos being implemented in partnership with WWF India and Animal Planet will also be able to bring attention to the challenges that conservationists face in protecting the species,” said, Dr. Dipankar Ghose, Director, Species and Landscapes, WWF India.
Of the estimated 3,500 Indian rhinos left in the world, 82% are found in India. Once found abundantly across the Indus, Ganges and the Brahmaputra river basins, the animal is now found only in select pockets in Assam, West Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. The state animal of Assam, the Indian rhinoceros faces several threats, including poaching, habitat loss and mass mortality from in-breeding and disease.
With five decades of work in the conservation space, WWF India has been working extensively on rhino conservation across key landscapes where the animal is found in the country.
Rhino Week on Animal Planet
Starting 16 September as a part of the World Rhino Day celebration, Animal Planet will offer a week-long Rhino special programming including ‘Into The Wild: India’, ‘Tales From Rhino Land’, ‘Battleground: Rhino Wars’ every day at 8 PM. On World Rhino Day on 22 September, the channel will premiere globally acclaimed documentary ‘Flying Rhinos’- An ambitious project focusing on translocation of rhinos to a safe new home in a secret location. Heading the project are Jed and Bom – the rhino protectors.
The rhino, which was once seen as a strong and indomitable creature, is today listed as a ‘vulnerable’ species. Hunting and poaching of rhinos led to the rhino population of India dwindling to less than 200 in the 1990s.
WWF India is engaged in wildlife and nature conservation in the country and works to sensitize people by creating awareness through capacity building and enviro-legal activism.