Mumbai: India cricket team vice-captain 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 September 22, Rohit pledges to do his bit to save the “vulnerable” species from extinction.

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Of the estimated 3500 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.

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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.

Rohit 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 programmes during ‘Rhino Week’ to sensitise people about these gentle giants.  A special page, is also being created to strengthen the campaign, through which viewers can pledge their support to the cause.

Talking about Rhino conservation campaign, Rohit 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 bio-diversity 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 endeavour to save the Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros.”

In a tweet, Rohit wrote, “There are approx. 3500 #Greateronehornedrhinos in the world today; 82% of them in India. Join me to #batforrhinos on #worldrhinoday and support measures to protect these animals in the wild. Log onto  to support the cause. @WWFINDIA  @AnimalPlanetIn (sic).”

About Rhinos in India

India is famous for its rich biodiversity. One of the most notable species found in India is the greater one-horned rhinoceros. These gentle giants are restricted to small habitats in Indo-Nepal Terai and northern West Bengal and Assam. However, the rhino, which was once seen as a strong and indomitable creature, is today listed as a ‘vulnerable’ species.

Rhino horns are wrongly believed to have medicinal and aphrodisiacal properties due to which there’s a huge demand for this contraband material in black markets around the world. 

Hunting and poaching of rhinos led to the rhino population of India dwindling to less than 200 in the 1990s! Furthermore, human encroachment on grasslands where the rhinos reside has further led to depletion in their numbers. However, after many years of continuous and relentless efforts, today we have over 3,500 rhinos in India and Nepal, over 80% of which reside in India. But, this is far from ideal and a lot more needs to be done in order to restore rhino numbers in the wild.