Kaziranga loses 27 rhinos this year

By Hemanta Kumar Nath, Guwahati, Sept 4 : Poachers continued their killing strike in Assam's Kaziranga National Park (KNP) as another one-horned rhino was poached in the park on Wednesday, officials said.

Poachers killed another rhino near Tunakuti forest camp under Bagori range office inside the park on the wee hours of Wednesday and managed to flee with its horn.

Kaziranga have lost 27 rhinos this year so far.

"Forest guards found a bullet-injured and de-horned carcass of a female rhino near the Tunakuti forest camp on Wednesday morning," a top official of KNP said.

"Poachers killed the rhino on the wee hours and managed to flee with its horn," the official said.

Meanwhile, top forest officials and security personnel rushed to the area and launched an operation against the poachers in neighbouring areas.

According to Assam Forest Department reports, poachers killed 22 one-horned rhinos in KNP in 2012.

On Aug 30, poachers chopped off a horn from an alive rhino in the park, where the female rhino later succumbed her injuries.

Secretary general of Aranyak, a wildlife and nature conservation organization, Dr Bibhab Talukdar said for high demand of Asian rhino horn in China, Vietnam and other countries of South East Asia, poaching incidents have increased in KNP.

"The Assam Forest Department and the KNP authority have totally failed to control the killing incidents," Dr Talukdar said.

"Arrest is not sufficient to control the poaching incidents. The state government should take initiative to increase the conviction rates," Dr Talukdar said.

Several organizations, including Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP), have protested against the rhino killing incidents in KNP.

"State forest minister Rockybul Hussain had announced few schemes, initiatives to protect wild animals in Assam on several occasions. But the initiatives are not properly implemented and failed to protect wild animals," Pranjal Nath, a wildlife lover of Assam said.

--IBNS (Posted on 04-09-2013)

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