From a Correspondent
TANGLA, September 11: The cases of illegal poaching of one-horned rhinoceros in the Rajiv Gandhi Orang tiol Park (ONP) have steeply increased in recent months. The arrest of poachers from the vicinity of the tiol park has also raised questions on the security set-up. The forest and police have apprehended as many as seven poachers in July and six poachers in September.
Though the State Government has been taking measures to curb poaching but these seem idequate as the poachers even seem to hire sharp shooters and are ready to take risks to kill rhinos, because of the growing demand for rhino horn in the intertiol market.
Taking serious note on the poaching activities in ONP, a group of wildlife-loving people under the banner of Anti-Forest Activities Protection Committee has come forward led by Mushabirul Haque as president, Joynel Abedin and Baharul Haque as secretaries. The wildlife lovers held a anti-poaching and anti-forest activities awareness camp at Bechimari village on Saturday located on the fringes of the tiol park. The programme was also assisted by the forest department. The awareness programme was presided over by Silbari Village panchayat president Abu Bakkar Siddique. Mangaldai wildlife divisiol forest officer Sunnydeo Choudhury and Budhin Hazarika, Principal of Kharupetia College, among others attended the programme. The programme, where the strategies to stop the local youths from poaching activities was discussed, was also attended by village headmen, members of VDP and activists of Darrang AMSU.
Speaking on the occasion, Mushabirul Haque said, “The first and foremost responsibility to protect the resources of the tiol park lies in the hand of villagers. The villagers should protect the tiol park from the hands of poachers.” Haque observed that youths with no crimil record were getting involved in poaching activities. Haque further exhorted the villagers located on the fringes of the tiol park to stand firm against the poachers and not shelter any such poachers in the villages. To stand united against poaching, a public swearing ceremony was also done.
Mangaldai wildlife divisiol forest officer Sunnydeo Choudhury said, “Assam is the only region in the world which has been successful in keeping population of one-horned rhinoceros. The ONP, which is declared as fourth tiger reserve, has more than 30 tigers, which is dense in comparison to its area.”
ONP, also known as mini Kaziranga, lost its first rhino to poachers this year so far after the carcass with horn missing was recovered on June 30. The park recorded zero poaching last year after several poaching attempts were foiled by the officials. In 2014 one rhino was poached in Orang. The park spread over 79.28 sq km has 100-odd rhinos. Orang as a tiger habitat covers an area of 492.46 sq km.