Assam: One-Horned Rhino Found Dead In Kaziranga National Park; 6th Rhino Killed This Year
A tourist group in upper Assam’s Kaziranga National Park today found the carcass of an adult male rhino with its horn removed. The dead rhino was spotted by the tourists at the Bhulukajan forest camp area while on a jeep safari, a senior official of the forest department said. This area falls under the Bagori range in Kaziranga National Park.
So far, six rhinos have been killed in 2018, reported NDTV.
Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of KNP, Rohoni Ballav Saikia said that they had heard gunshots on Friday night but assumed they were sounds of firecrackers from a marriage that was taking place nearby.
Other incidents of rhino poaching
The first incident of rhino poaching took place at Kaziranga National Park’s Bagori Range’s Daflang camp on January 14. However, the poachers could not take away the horn.
Near the banks of the Brahmaputra river, the carcass of another male rhino that had been shot to death was recovered on May 11 from Chirakhowa anti-poaching camp area. Its horn was also missing.
A dead female adult rhino was found on March 3 with its horn removed outside the Kaziranga National Park area at Lahore Chapori.
On the midnight of February 11, the carcass of another rhino was recovered from Polokata Tapu near Sitamari, which is under the jurisdiction of Lahorijan forest camp.
74 rhinos killed since 2015
During an ongoing Assam Assembly budget session, Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahma had said that Assam has seen 74 rhinos killed by poachers since 2015. During 2015-2017, 316 poachers have been arrested, said a report by The Hindu.
The killing of the rhino in Polokata near the Sitamari area took place within hours of law enforcing agencies were directed by Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi to take all preventive measures so that no rhinos can be killed in Kaziranga National Park.
Although over the last several months incidents of poaching have significantly reduced, the Governor said that security agencies must be conscious enough not to let any such incidents from happening.
Lampu, a “phantom” ruling the rhino horn trade
Stilwell Road, which connects Assam and China, took U.S. Army General Joseph Stilwell two years and $150 million to build. The road, which was built to make it easier to send supplies to China, soon began to be misused. A book in Assamese, Mandalay, which has been produced by the Guwahati-based Nanda Talukdar Foundation, has talked about rhino horn trade from India to China via this road.
The book also talks of investigation that has gone on for years by two officers who looked after rhino conservation. The officers are Deben Bora, officer-in-charge of the Jakhalabandha police station near Kaziranga National Park’s Burapahar Range, and Pranjal Baruah, range officer of the park’s Northern Range across the Brahmaputra river. Baruah has now been upgraded to a division, reported by The Hindu.
Dozens of poachers have been interrogated in the past decade, and that has led forest officials to a mysterious person, a “phantom”, an unknown figure called Lampu, who apparently operates from Myanmar. However, not a single investigating agency has Lampu’s real name, location or photograph.
Assam is famous worldwide for its Kaziranga National Park with its one-horned rhinos. Hence, indiscriminate killing of these animals is both an attack on the animal and the pride and heritage of our country. The Logical Indian urges forest officials to take strict measures to prevent poaching.