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Assam: Rhino killed on 'save rhino walkathon' day

February 17, 2013 19:45 IST

On the day when a private university in Assam organised a unique walkathon -- The Great Save Rhino Walkathon 2013 -- to raise awareness for protecting the one-horned rhinoceros in the state, poachers made mockery of the event by killing another precious rhino in KazirangaNational Park and took away its horn before the dawn on Sunday. 

With the killing of the rhino, the number of poached rhinos in the state so far this year went upto ten including eight alone in well protected KNP, a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation World Heritage Site.

An official source informed that the rhino was killed at Roumari camp area in BagoriRange of the national park by the poachers before the day-break on Sunday. Forest personnel recovered the carcass of the beast sans the horn early on Sunday morning.

The killing of yet another rhino triggered public protests in KazirangaPark area today even as a senior official allegedly misbehaved with local journalists while preventing the latter from entering into the Park to gather on-the-spot information about the poached rhino.

While people were protesting the fresh killing of rhinos in Kaziranga Park today, an event was conducted about 80 kilometers away from the Park at Jorhat city to raise mass concern for protection of the endangered beast, that is pride of Assam.

The recent rise in rhino killings especially in KazirangaNational Park has raised lot concern towards rhino conservation in and around the state but no concrete efforts has been made to consolidate the masses against this brutality

The KazirangaUniversity, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility activities and in association with Department of Forest, Government of Assam organised ‘The Great Save Rhino Walkathon 2013’ from JDSA field in Jorhat city in eastern Assam to the university campus on the outskirt of the city on Sunday.

More than 4,000 people participated in this Walkathon. Hundreds of walkers from civil society, the army, the Central Reserve Police Force, the Assam Rifles and the Assam police covered a distance of 20 kilometres to complete the walk.

Member of Parliament Bijoy Krishna Handique flagged off the event while Assamese cine Stars Nishita Goswami and Moloya Goswami cheered the crowd.

Hridesh Mishra, Conservator Wildlife in Assam, participated in the event. To promote the event the University has launched a website with all details.

Thousands of spectators queued on both side of the road to cheer the walkers. A huge crowd waving ‘Save Rhino’ banners and posters followed the walkers.

Duleshwar Gogoi, an ex-armyman from Digboi covered the distance in 1hour 49 minutes, followed by Sri Mansid Oriya and Sri Subroto Mukherjee who were awarded the second and third positions. There were many women and children among the participants in this walkathon.

The awards were given by Chancellor of Kaziranga University, M D Khetan. Sspeaking on the occasion of prize giving ceremony, Dr Mishra said “It is the conscious duty and responsibility of each individual to be a part of this cause to Save and conserve that rhino that is the pride of Assam. The Kaziranga University will take this cause further to the international level”. He informed that this will be an annual event of the university every year.

K Anurag in Guwahati