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Frantic hunt for a horn - Forest rangers search for missing rhino part

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By Staff Reporter in Guwahati
  • Published 8.10.09
Illustration by Debasish Deb

Guwahati, Oct. 8: They may not be looking for a needle in a haystack but finding a horn in a humongous pond isn’t any easier for a group of Kaziranga foresters.

One look at a group of bone- drenched, exhausted forest personnel searching for the rhino appendage in one of the park’s water bodies says it all.

Wading through knee-deep water in torrential rain, the group has been diligently looking for the horn ever since a rhino carcass was found floating in Dimolibeel yesterday.

After initial doubts of poaching were laid to rest and the forest personnel realised the animal had died of old age, they launched a massive search for the missing horn.

“We are sure that the horn has fallen off from the aged rhino which has died a natural death. There is no injury mark for us believe that the rhino had fallen prey to poaching,” the divisional forest official of the national park D. Gogoi said.

The spot from where the rhino carcass was recovered is just 500 metres from Dimoli anti-poaching camp.

“The guards have not heard any gunshots in the past few days. Had the rhino been killed by poachers, our guards would definitely had heard gunshots,” the official said.

“The rhino horn is not deep-rooted and is connected to the nasal bone, unlike the buffalo horn. It is quite common to find horns falling off rhinos, sometimes because of infighting or old age,” Gogoi said.

A rhino, he said, can survive without its horn.

“It is because of profuse bleeding that a rhino dies when poachers remove the horn with a sharp weapon,” he said.

Last year, two rhino horns were recovered from the eastern range of the park.