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Assam: Rhino poaching on rise in Kaziranga Park
K Anurag in Guwahati | July 21, 2007 17:41 IST
The wildlife staff manning the world famous rhino abode at Kaziranga National Park, a world heritage site in Assam, have found themselves groping for a way to tackle marauding poachers.
An official in the national park admitted that despite the best possible efforts put in by the wildlife staff in the park, poachers armed with sophisticated weapons have killed 10 endangered rhinos in the wildlife sanctuary so far this year, raising the alarm bell.
Forest guards in the KNP on Friday recovered the 10th carcass of a rhino inside a pit in the Agartoli Range of the park.
The rhino was suspected to be killed a few days ago. The poachers took away the horn.
The wildlife officials suspected that a gang of poachers with international links was behind the recent rhino killings in the KNP.
The gang seems to be equipped with the latest weapons while many of the old rifles being used by the forest guards in the national park were not working.
The national park is home to the largest number of Indian one-horned rhinos.
As per the latest official figure, there were 2006 rhinos in the park till last year.
The world heritage site has been facing a serious problem of sufficient trained manpower to police about 500 square km area in the national park that is home to many other animal, bird and reptile species beside the famed one-horned rhino.
In view of the spurt in poaching, the Assam Wildlife and Forest Department is proposing for the deployment of two companies of combat personnel to protect the endangered rhino against increasing threat from poachers in Kaziranga National Park.
Involvement of some militant groups was not ruled out in rhino poaching given sophisticated weapons, better logistics and guidance availed by this band of rhino poachers of late.
In a recent high level meeting attended by Chief Wildlife Warden M C Malakar, the director of Kaziranga Park besides other senior forest and police officials took serious note of the threat posed by well-equipped and well-armed poachers to the rhino population in Kaziranga Park.
The Wildlife and Forest officials attending the meeting mooted that a proposal seeking deployment of at least two battalions of combat personnel in Kaziranga Park be submitted to the state government.