Amid global alert over coronavirus, now a bigger threat looms large over the rhino population of the world and especially of Assam.
Illegal wildlife traders are cashing in on fears over the coronavirus outbreak by selling fake medicines containing rhino horn and other endangered species parts, reports stated quoting an investigation.
Sellers in China and Laos are advertising a Chinese medicine product called Angong Niuhuang Wan on WeChat, a messaging and social media app, according to the UK-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).
The ‘cure’ on offer – images of which were posted with adverts – appears to have been produced in North Korea and, unlike the Chinese version, states that the ingredients include rhino horn and musk, the EIA was quoted as saying.
Rhinos are critically endangered after steady declines in the global population since the start of the 20th century. Hundreds are killed each year, nearly all poached for their horn for Asian markets.
Buyers wrongly believe it has medicinal value, although it is made of the same material as human nails and hair.
Environmentalists back in north-eastern India fear this may have an adverse effect on the rhino population in the national parks of Assam.
Kaziranga and the other national parks are home for the largest population of the famed one-horned rhinos.
These are already vulnerable falling prey to poachers every year.
Now that such claims are doing the rounds, the risk of poaching rhinos in these national parks of Assam, particularly Kaziranga have increased manifold.