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Home > India > News > Report

Assam for CBI probe into rhino poaching

K Anurag in Guwahati | June 06, 2008 21:24 IST

The Assam government has claimed that the Central Bureau of Investigation will soon start a probe into the spurt in rhino poaching in protected areas in Assam even as one more rhino was found dead sans its horn inside the famous rhino abode, Kaziranga National Park, on Friday.

The state government has asked the chief conservator of wildlife, BS Bonal, to conduct an 'on the spot inquiry' into the fresh death of a rhino in the national park and submit a report at the earliest. The deployment of wildlife personnel in Kaziranga National Park was augmented by the state government following the spurt in rhino poaching last year.

The total number of rhinos killed by poachers so far this year went up to ten including seven in Kaziranga Park in eastern Assam and three in the Orang National Park in North Assam. Last year poachers killed over 20 rhinos in the Kaziranga Park.

Kaziranga Park authority informed that an aged rhino was found dead at the Agaratoli range of the national park on Friday without its horn which was suspected to be extracted by poachers. Assam Wildlife and Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain said the Assam government had completed the process of handing over the rhino poaching investigation to the CBI, which is expected to begin the probe soon.

Meanwhile, Assam government is drafting a proposal to be submitted before the Central government for adding more teeth to the Wildlife Protection Act to hand out severe punishment to wildlife poachers.
"We will propose that provision for jail term for rhino poachers should be increased to seven to ten years from the maximum three years to add more teeth to the Wildlife Protection Act," the minister said.

Earlier the Assam government had decided to facilitate better intelligence sharing and coordination between the Wildlife Department and the State Police in its on-going fight against rhino poachers. The efforts though resulted in nabbing of at least seven poachers from different parts of the state so far, the rhino poaching continues. Assam government believes that an organized inter-state network of poachers were involved in killing the endangered one-horned Asiatic Rhinoceros in the state.