Former England cricketer Kevin Pietersen on Thursday complimented Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his efforts in the conservation of rhinos. Pietersen, who is a well-known conservationist, hailed PM Modi as a global leader and called him “a hero” for his efforts that led to an increase n the number of rhinos in India. “Thank you, Narendra Modi. A global leader standing up for the planets rhino species! If only more leaders would do the same. And this is the reason why rhino numbers in India are rising exponentially! What a hero!” he wrote.
Pietersen comment came after a tweet by PM Modi to commend the efforts of the BJP government in Assam to fight poaching of rhinos. “Commendable effort by Team Assam. The One-Horned Rhino is India’s pride, and all steps will be taken for its well-being," PM Modi wrote.
Assam, which is home to the largest population of one-horned rhinos in the world, has launched a conservation programme for saving the animal from poachers. On the occasion of World Rhino Day on September 22, the state government authorities, in presence of Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, burned 2,479 rhino horns seized from poachers. “Today is a historic day for Assam & India. We have taken an extraordinary step of burning stockpile of 2479 horns of single-horned rhinos, first-of-its-kind globally in volume terms, pursuing vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of putting an end to poaching in Assam,” Sarma tweeted.
Coming back to Pietersen, his association with rhino conservation efforts date back to 2013 when he first came across the sad state of affairs in South Africa during a forest safari. The cricketer then used his profile to raise awareness about rhino conservation.
Pietersen was recently seen in a Nat Geo documentary that revolved around rhino conservation efforts in India. For shooting this documentary titled, ‘Save This Rhino: India,’ he had travelled to the Kaziranga National Park in Assam. The documentary was released on the occasion of World Rhino Day.
Rhino numbers in India had slumped down to 75 in 1905, however, with years of efforts by governments and people, it has now risen to over 2500.
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