Monday, 30th October 2017

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Poaching drop in Kaziranga

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  • Published 28.10.17

Guwahati: Rhino poaching in Kaziranga National Park dropped to two cases this year and the authorities attributed this to effective protection duty by frontline staff and good support from police of neighbouring districts.

This is the best effort by the park authorities since 2001.

A senior park official said on Friday that there were 10 attempts by poachers to enter Kaziranga in the last six months and they were able to enter twice. "All poaching attempts were foiled except two and the poachers were arrested before execution of their plans," the official said.

The last rhino poaching case was reported in Agoratoli range in August. In comparison, there were 15 poaching cases till October 20 last year.

Seventeen rhinos were killed in Kaziranga in 2015 and 18 last year, which had led to concern among wildlife conservationists across the world. In 2013 and 2014, 27 rhinos each were killed in the World Heritage Site.

"We have been able to control rhino poaching due to tireless protection duty by our frontline staff. There was also good support from police of neighbouring districts and support from forest officials of neighbouring divisions and locals in terms of intelligence input," the official said, adding that it was a well-coordinated team effort.

The park is also using drones to monitor activities.

The official said the effort needs to be sustained and there should not be any complacency as poachers are now well-armed and are constantly changing strategies to fashion out a chance to strike.

A poisonous liquid, used in darts for rhinos, was recovered recently from two poachers arrested by park officials in Biswanath district. An inflatable rubber boat, a motorcycle and tranquillising equipment were also recovered from the duo.

The official said eight persons were convicted in five cases this year. Experts said an increase in conviction cases would be a deterrent to poachers. He said 48 poachers were arrested and one was killed this year. "Ten officials were injured by wild animals and one person was killed by a rhino this year," he added.

Wildlife conservationists said the success in curtailing rhino poaching in Kaziranga needs to be replicated in other national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in Assam where rhinos are found.

Rhino conservationist Bibhab Talukdar said the work done by Kaziranga authorities on containing rhino poaching was very encouraging and praiseworthy. "It is good to see that the present management of the park is trying to secure support from key stakeholders," he said.