iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-
A bromance seems to be budding between Assam Chief Minister Himanta Sarma and Oscar-winning American actor a vocal environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio. Sarma extended an invitation to DiCaprio on Twitter after the latter praised rhino conservation in Assam’s Kaziranga National Park. In response to the American actor’s post, Himanta also wrote, “Preserving wildlife is integral to our cultural identity.”
On Friday, February 10, Sarma extended a “special invitation” to DiCaprio to visit the state’s Kaziranga National Park. This was in response to the actor’s post on Instagram in which he praised the Assam government for its efforts that resulted in zero poaching of one-horned rhinoceros in the state in 2022.
Himanta wrote in his Twitter post, “Preserving wildlife is integral to our cultural identity. We are dedicated to persevering and safeguarding our rich cultural heritage. Thank you for your kind words, and I extend a warm invitation to you to visit Kaziranga and Assam.”
Leonardo posted on Instagram: “In 2021, the government of the Indian state of Assam set out to end the poaching of the Endangered Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros in Kaziranga National Park following the killing of around 190 animals for their horns between 2000 and 2021. In 2022, they met their goal and no rhinos were poached in the area for the first time since 1977. Kaziranga National Park is home to 2,200 Greater One-horned Rhinos, which is about two-thirds of the world’s population. This triumph in India also comes with more good news, as WWF also reports that the world population of the rare rhino soared to around 3,700 from about 200 at the turn of the 20th century.”
On January 1, the Assam government announced that no incident of poaching of the endangered animal had been reported in the state in 2022. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and many other global environmentalists praised it as well. The Assam government formed a special Anti-Poaching Task Force in July 2021 to combat poaching. Poaching was at its lowest in 21 years that year, with only one case reported.
In 2021, Sarma said that myths connected to the rare rhino had led to the slaughter of the rhinoceros. In order to break the myths and beliefs associated with the endangered animal, he had ordered the burning of 2,500 rhino horns in September 2021. These horns were recovered and preserved by the Assam government over the past four decades.