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Forum against dehorning

Guwahati, March 26: The Assam Environment NGOs Forum today said it was against dehorning of rhinos and urged the government to concentrate on curbing poaching by initiating strict measures.

The Forum, comprising 30 NGOs working in the environment sector, is of the opinion that the one-horned rhino is famous for its horn. If it is dehorned, it will no longer remain the pride of Assam and be a part of its rich heritage.

“The government had formed a committee to discuss the dehorning and majority of the members, including us, are against dehorning. Instead, the state government together with forest officials should strengthen ground activities to check poaching in all wildlife areas and penalise poachers,” said Mubina Akhtar, environmentalist and co-ordinator of the Forum.

The Forum claimed the state forest department here could not go ahead with dehorning of rhinos simply by citing dehorning practices in African countries.

“We have not done any research on how dehorning of the one-horned rhino may affect the animal. Many say that its horn will grow back, still we do not know if that may have a detrimental effect on the well-being of the animal. Under such circumstances we simply cannot allow its dehorning,” said Akhtar.

The state forest department planned to dehorn those rhinos that will be translocated. But the Forum suggested that only rhinos with stunted horns should be translocated.

“Forest officials want to dehorn rhinos before translocation to discourage poachers who kill the animal for its horn to sell it for millions. But there are rhinos with stunted or half-grown horns. They can be translocated,” Akhtar said.