Fourth rhino killed, army help sought by Dispur

By Our Staff Reporter

Guwahati, January 11: Poachers killed two more rhinos at Kaziranga tiol Park, taking the toll to four this year, as a discomfited State government sought help from the army to deal with the threat.

Forest guards spotted a group of poachers at Bahubil inBurapahar Range of the park last night and engaged them in a gunfight. However, the poachers maged to flee in the cover of darkness.

Later, the forest guards found the carcass of an adult female rhino from the area. The horn was missing.

Forest guards also found cartridges of AK 47 and .303 rifles from the place. Cartridges of another weapon was also found from the place.

The other carcass was recovered from a sandbar in the Brahmaputra river inside Agaratoli range of the park, officials said. The animal was possibly killed a week back, and its horn was missing, officials said added.

On January 9, poachers had killed a one–horned rhino at Dhing in gaon district and escaped with its horn.

The back–to–back poaching of rhinos in the Unesco World Hritage Site raised the hackles of animal rights groups and organizations in the State.

Several groups, including the All Assam Students Union (AASU), on Sunday held a protest in the tiol park against the ubated killings of one–horned rhinos.

AASU adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya demanded the deployment of the army to protect the endangered animals from poachers.

Assam’s Governor PB Acharya earlier this week had expressed serious concern over the rhino poaching and suggested an overhaul of the security set–up inside the park. He even castigated the forest minister and his staff, but without ming the minister.

The Assam government has over years increased the number of park security staff from 49 in 1967 to 562 in 2001. More than 430 Assam Forest protection Force (AFPF) personnel have also been deployed in the park since 2013.

Similarly, pelties have been enhanced under the amended Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

Meanwhile, forest minister Rakibul Hussain, facing salvos from all quarters, said the director of the park has been asked to take the help of army in tackling the mece.

Meanwhile, at Orang tiol Park, forest guards shot dead a poacher in an encounter near Roumari forest camp.

Ranger Chakrapani Roy said the encounter took place at around 2 am this morning.

“There were 3/4 poachers. The gunfight took place for about two minutes. One poacher was gunned down but others maged to escape,” he said. A .303 rifle, four rounds, sharp weapons, torch light and food stuff were found from the place. 

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