"What A Hero": Cricketer Kevin Pietersen Credits PM Modi For "Standing Up" For Rhinos

The praise came after PM Modi commended the Assam government for its steps for the protection of the one-horned rhino.

'What A Hero': Cricketer Kevin Pietersen Credits PM Modi For 'Standing Up' For Rhinos

Kevin Pietersen is a former England cricketer and conservationist. (File photo)

Former England cricketer and conservationist Kevin Pietersen has praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “standing up” for the protection of rhinos. He thanked PM Modi and urged other world leaders to emulate the Indian Prime Minister, who had commended the Assam government on its efforts to protect the one-horned rhino from poaching. The PM had said, “The one-horned rhino is India's pride and all steps will be taken for its well-being.” Describing him as a “hero”, Kevin Pietersen said “this is the reason” why rhino numbers in India are rising rapidly.

Mr Pietersen quoted a tweet by PM Modi in which he praised "team Assam" for taking steps to stop poaching of the one-horned rhino, the state animal.

On World Rhino Day, September 22, the Assam government burnt 2,479 rare rhino horns amidst vedic rituals during a public ceremony, in a one-of-its-kind anti-poaching drive. The horns kept on six pyres were set on fire after priests read the last rites. Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, the chief guest at the ceremony, said the drive will send a strong message to the world that Assam only values the horns safely present on alive rhinos.

“Commendable effort by team Assam. The One-horned Rhino is India's pride and all steps will be taken for its well-being,” wrote PM Modi in a tweet.

The endangered one-horned rhinoceros, once widely found in India's eastern region, are now mostly found in Assam. The state is home to the UNESCO-listed heritage site, Kaziranga National Park, which has the world's largest one-horned rhino population.

However, their numbers have dipped owing to poaching for the horn, which is used in traditional medicines in some Asian countries, including China and Vietnam, and due to habitat loss. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora banned rhino horn trading in 1977.