The Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve authority recently busted a major poaching racket involving local people who used arms in an attempt to poach rhinos in the national park just at a time when the World Rhino Day was observed.
Since 2011, World Rhino Day is celebrated internationally on September 22.
Assam is known for its one-horned Rhino and the state attracts a large number of tourists who come to visit such sites.
Kaziranga National Park is now home to 2,613 Rhinos and the numbers are increasing, as per the latest census data put out by the national park authority.
The conspiracy of some people who are residing nearby the national park was unearthed following the arrest of two rhino poachers along with arms in Assam’s Biswanath district two days ago.
“In last few months we have engaged more intelligence and succeed and it is one of our best successes. Our investigation is on. There are few persons who are residing nearby the Kaziranga National Park & Tiger Reserve and they supply arms to poach one-horned rhino,” said MK Yadav, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest and Head of Forest Force of Assam government, adding that following the arrest of two rhino poachers along with arms, many facts of rhino poaching incidents have been unearthed.
“We have found evidence that several poaching incidents happened by using that supplied arms. The arrested persons had planned to poach a one-horned rhino in the park. In the last 3-4 months, we have arrested many people from different parts,” MK Yadav said.
Recently, forest officials arrested two rhino poachers from Biswanath Chariali in Biswanath district and recovered one rifle and one pistol in possession from them. The arrested poachers were identified as Pinku Mandal and Hanuman Pandey.
In late August too, Assam Police arrested two individuals linked with rhino horn trading in the Bokakhat area near Kaziranga National Park in Assam and recovered a horn from their possession. The arrested rhino horn traders were identified as Budheswar Chingte and Bhakta Bahadur Thapa.
Poaching of Rhinos was rampant in the past, which has now come down drastically due to stringent surveillance and other elevated security arrangements being put in by the authorities.
In 2021, the number of Rhinos lost to poaching was the lowest in 21 yrs at just 1. In 2013 and 2014, as many as 27 Rhinos were killed by poachers.
To give a clear message to poachers that Rhino horns don’t attach any medicinal or monetary value, the Assam government publicly burnt a stockpile of 2,479 horns in September.
“The use of rhinos’ horns for medicinal purposes is a myth,” Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had then said.
“One-horned rhino is not only integral to our civilisation, but also a symbol of our prized heritage and identity. We are preserving 94 rhino horns for display at a museum to be set up at Kaziranga National Park,” Sarma had said on the day those horns were put to flames.
There was an increase of 200 individuals from 2018 despite 400 death mainly due to natural causes, the Kaziranga authority posted on Twitter in March this year. (ANI)