In the last five years, at least 22 one-horned rhinos have been killed by poachers in Assam, the state assembly was informed on Wednesday.
In a written reply to a query, the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) MLA Sirajuddin Ajmal, Environment and Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya, said 22 rhinos were poached during the period.
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Poaching cases decreasing in Assam
However, the data presented by the government showed that the number of such poaching incidents is decreasing every year.
Suklabaidya informed the House that nine rhinos were killed in 2017, followed by seven in 2018, three in 2019, two in 2020 and one in 2021.
He said that 644 poachers had been arrested until June 1, and 25 cases were registered against them.
“After proper inquiry, arrests of poachers are made… The Assam government has constituted 10 fast-track session courts for speedy trials of wildlife-related crimes,” the minister said.
Police arrest three rhino poachers
A few months back, Assam Police arrested three rhino poachers near Kaziranga National Park.
Two AK-47 rifles, two magazines, 30 rounds of live AK ammunition, two torches, bags and other items were also recovered from their possession.
The arrested poachers were identified as Welson Teron (34), Dereshang Rengma (36) and Alo Rengma (29).
Rhino poaching in Assam
It is one of the major environmental issues in India, which continues in the region of Kaziranga National Park, Manas National Park and some other grasslands of Assam.
Indian rhinoceros inhabit most of the floodplains of the Indogangetic and Brahmaputra riverine tracts and the neighbouring foothills.
Kaziranga National Park in Assam, India, holds about 71% of the world’s wild population of the greater one-horned rhino.
It was, therefore, a shock to conservationists when they learned that in 2007 about 20 animals were poached, a four-fold increase compared with the previous six years’ annual average, according to a source.
In Orang NP, there was heavy poaching in 2008. New poachers entered the Park, and the under-staffed frontline forest guards were not equipped to fight them.
In contrast, there were no rhinos poached in Pabitora Wildlife Sanctuary in either 2007 or 2008. This was because of a very close relationship between its staff and the local villagers