Wild Indian rhinoceros in Kaziranga National Park

Hemanta Kumar Nath is a correspondent and photojournalist based in Assam, India, who reports on local news in Assam, the north east Indian state.

Guwahati, September 4 : Poachers do not go away when the rains and floods come. They use this time as an opportunity to kill more rhinos, when there are fewer people around.

Another one horned rhino died for its horn in flooded Kaziranga National Park (KNP) on Thursday night, officials said on Friday.

Poachers killed the rhino in the Bagori forest range of the national park.

“Forest guards found the dehorned bullet injured carcass of a male rhino inside the park on Friday morning,” a park official said.

Over the past few weeks, more than 70 forest camps flooded in the park.

The official said many wild animals crossed the NH-37 and entered the nearby Karbi Hills as flood waters rose in the national park.

Two months ago, Kaziranga forest staff rescued a young male rhino calf found wandering alone in the wilderness of Agoratoli range. Poachers may have killed its mother.

In March this year, Assam government sources said even though around 300 armed poachers prowl around the park equipped with weapons including AK-series assault rifles, local police never proactively acted against these elements.

A Range officer currently serving in Dolamara range said they have insufficient weapons and training to counter the often well-armed poachers. “We have nine .315 rifles and two 12 bore shot guns beside two SUV ( Bolero), wireless set provided by the authority helps us to some extent; we need trained professionals to use arms, we have other duties beside providing protection round the clock. Plantation and management of non timber forest produces, guarding against timber smuggling is another big task we have to look after every day. Ambitious projects like the bamboo mission has no doubt helped the forest department in reaching the people who resides in the fringe areas of reserve forest, in fact they help us in management and protection of forest but we need a total revamp of the system. With a handful of staff not connoisseurs in combat, it is indeed a challenge to protect an area spread over 400 square kilometers in all weather; but until now we have succeeded in minimizing wildlife poaching in contrast to other places; in our endeavor local people and specially media professionals help us a lot. In my area several measures were adopted since 2009 for protection of wildlife in narrow level; for this purpose gaining confidence of local people is the key factor.” [NewsBlaze]

Sushanta Roy contributed to this story.

Wild Indian rhinoceros in Kaziranga National Park
Wild Indian rhinoceros in Kaziranga National Park. Photo: Yathin SK