Wildlife extinction: Rhino catastrophe of Assam
By Dr Rajiv Chandra Dev Goswami
Mankind in a quest to propagate in a most domiting and in a non prudent way is posing a great threat to tural biodiversity and its habitat in this entire NE region. Human race are gripping in a worst impacting way all over the region to diminish all tural resources whether it be water or land resources effecting a major portion of plants and animal lives. The ever selfish and egoistic mankind does not even have time to think of the god gifted heaven i.e. mother earth and continuously disturbing its ecological balance and destroying majority of forest areas in terms of civilization. In the last 100 years it has been established that forest areas are so much squeezed to an extent that it is most likely; wild animals have no option but to invade localities and villages in search of food. News channels are continuously flashing breaking news that wild animals like elephants; killing a lot of people and damaging houses and household properties including crop fields. But is it correct to blame wild animals for obliteration of our cropping fields and domestic animals. Recently wild tigers from forest area near Maligaon hills, Guwahati invaded city area and harmed many people and ate domestic animals/poultry. A tiger was also spotted eating animals at Kamakkhya Mandir, Nilachal hill top, as evidenced during CCTV capture as. But the million dollar question is, where do these wild animals get food to survive and have their tural habitat, instead they try to invade human populated and civilized areas in and around Guwahati city. As Most of the forest areas and hills at the outskirt of the city is encroached by human and forest area compressed to a level that wild animals cannot survive depending upon the foods sources available in such diminishing wild areas. Ultimately incidents are uvoidable and we blame innocent wild animals for coming out of forest areas.
With the beginning of this scientific flourishing and technological booming, we people always have a expedition to launch our life in other planets in search of food and security, as it is known fact that all tural reserves (petroleum fuel, coal, land/water resources) are at its extinction state and it seems that mother earth has tolerated a level, where it is becoming a doubt that if she can support life smoothly after 200 to 300 years due to this type of human intervention towards other living bodies. The population outburst can imbalance the tural ecological balance in a pronouncing way that there will be scarcity of even drinking water and tural resources vital for living including petroleum fuel. Climate change and global warming is another issue in this regard. It is very unfortute that wild animals have no option to surrender their life toward this most evolved selfish homo sapience.
Let now come to the scerio of Assam and its wild life. Assam is a tural beauty, a place where Mother ture resides and it is among the most promising and wealthy state in terms of water resource, land resource and bioresources. Majority of these resources are untouched and yet to receive human footstep and many rare bio resources are yet to be discovered. Such a ture gifted region with all its tural orments, have tremendous potential. But it still neglected and there is no proper strategy and roadmap for protection of its tural resources. Despite of continuous lime light by tiol and local medias about the mass killing and destruction of tural resources, the proud of Assam and our identity i.e. One horned rhino is still in danger and Assam Rhino poaching is one of the major environmental issues in India and it shameful that it is still being continued in the region of Kaziranga tiol Park, Mas tiol Park and some other grasslands of Assam. In Assam the one horn rhino account almost 95% of the total wild one horned rhino in the world. A state with this mesmerizing tural gift where water sources, land resources plays a vital role to attract tourist from all over the world, it is unfortute that still one horned rhino killing is a big issue and no proper strategy to stop this mece right now. According a report by Sushanta Talukdar in an eminent daily of India, have indicated that poachers have killed and dehorned 193 rhinos in Assam over the past 13 years, which is very shocking. During this period, the highest number of 126 rhinos was killed in the Kaziranga tiol Park, followed by 31 in the Orang tiol Park, 14 in the Pabitora wildlife sanctuary, 7 in the Mas tiol Park and 15 in other forest divisions (Source).
Over all, 873 rhinos, 63 tigers and 254 elephants of Kaziranga died a tural death during this period. This was stated in the Assembly by Assam Environment and Forest Minister in reply to a question by Local Political party members. Data tabled in the House showed that the highest number of 41 rhinos had been poached in 2013 while 2002 and 2004 recorded the lowest poaching of 5 rhinos each year. This year, poachers had killed 22 rhinos in the State since January, of which 21 were killed in Kaziranga and 1 in the Pabitora sanctuary, which is shameful and very unfortute.
Government officials attributed the ubated poaching is due to rise in price and demand for rhino horn in the intertiol market. It is estimated that 41 poachers had been killed in Kaziranga in encounters with forest guards since 2011 but none of them could be identified till date. We are living in 21st century but it has made us think that there still a lapse of technology and proper roadmap with strong dedication and desire of all political leaders including tural activists to involve and to get rid of this situation and stop this tragedy.
The royal family of Britain, who recently visited Assam with a generous mission to see tural beauty and treasures of Assam, whose ancestors believed to first showed one horned rhino in the year 1905, has visited Assam to have a glance of the tion pride one horned rhino, but unfortutely two rhinos were brutally killed by thieves, one before their arrival and one during their departure from Assam. It is shocking that at this epoch of science and technology the forest activists, forest official and our government, who are uble to stop this type of illegal killing of Assam’s identity. Why there should not be use of 24X7 surveillance systems, area or zone wise drone service. Why there is no incorporation of electronic transmitter system in each of rhinos including many endangered, rare and threatened species in all over the tiol parks of Assam. Assam Government is using this one horned rhino as logo or brand in all tiol and intertiol sports and activities including utilizing this innocent prestigious animal as gift items or mementos in all prestigious meeting and gifting this tural treasure as award to foreign delegates (Including the recently visited Royal Family) and political leaders in and outside the country. It should be our moral duty and responsibility to protect and take all possible precaution to save the life of all these innocent animals. We feel very embarrassed that during the visit of prince and princess from England, two rhinos were very silently and brutally killed for its horn and government has buried this matter in all possible ways so that the duke of England may not be aware of this matter. What kind of government is this, who is so brutal and so irresponsible regarding killing of Rhinos. Scientists, political leader, Protestants, and Professors from eminent institutes and Universities from this region are keeping so silent regarding this matter these days. The forest department of Assam took a proposal of dehorning rhino to save it from poachers on February, 2014. The Government of Assam also called for public opinion by a committee headed by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) to take a decision. But many environmentalists and NGO’s oppose the proposal. But the moral of the story is; does Mother ture give all the keys to this highly evolved human race and to decide who will domite and survive on earth. Wild life protection, if global prime agenda all over the world then why couldn’t we seek immediate solution for this cruel killings of one horned rhino.
We believe that day is not far away when we have to halt our tourism sector as these tural treasures and are slowly diminishing and the wild life of Assam will only be in the history pages. There should be a strong team work and surveillance team loaded with sophisticated and high through put machineries including drones and transmitter systems for safety and protection of wild habitats otherwise illegal migrants and forest area demolishing will surely end up Assam’s tural resources leaving a state with zero tural resources and unfit for human civilization in the days to come.
(The Author is Former DST Inspire Fellow, Govt. of India, Biotechnology, Guwahati, Assam, India. Email- firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone-+919864108070)