| SOFT TARGETS' A newborn one-horned rhino with her mother inside Kaziranga National Park
Jorhat/Guwahati, April 24: Two poachers were killed by forest guards in Kaziranga National Park early this morning.
A park official said the poachers fired at the forest guards near Sohola Beel in Agratoli range, forcing them to retaliate. The poachers, who have not been identified as yet, were killed in the firing.
“We had alerted the guards as we had information that a gang of poachers was trying to enter the park,” the official said.
“Nobody will be spared. Tough action will be taken against those trying to kill the rhinos,” he added.
The national park has been put on high alert following the killing of six rhinos — the highest in the past five years — by poachers last month.
The killing of the rhinos have put the park authorities under severe criticism, forcing the government to act immediately.
Last week, Dispur rushed 50 people and two additional companies of armed homeguards to the park to meet the manpower crisis and provide more security.
Yesterday, the state government decided to constitute a wildlife crime committee to initiate measures to control wildlife-related crime. The committee, comprising police and forest officials, will meet twice a month to review wildlife crime scenario.
The decision was taken at Kaziranga National Park at a meeting convened by Rockybul Hussain, state forest and environment minister. Senior police officials from Tezpur, Nagaon and Golaghat attended the meeting.
The participants also reviewed the security measures at the national park.
They agreed to send photographs of poachers (if available) to police stations for identification and also display these publicly.
They also decided to appropriately reward informers, as they are useful in developing the intelligence network. The officials underlined the need to strengthen the network to unearth the modus operandi of the poachers.
The meeting stressed on economic development projects in the fringe areas to win the support of local residents.
In the meantime, the International Rhino Foundation, the Fauna and Flora International and the Guwahati-based non-governmental organisation, Aaranyak, have written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take measures to save the park.