Guwahati: The Assam government Tuesday announced a bounty of up to Rs1 lakh to anyone who can give information about poachers who have killed over 30 rhinos in the state this year.
Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain said the move was initiated to check the spurt in rhino poaching inside the various protected areas of the state.
Over 30 one-horned rhinos have been killed in Assam this year -- 25 in Kaziranga National Park, four in Manas National Park, two in Pabitora wildlife sanctuary and three in Rajiv Gandhi National Park in Orang, according to official statistics.
"We have decided to award up to Rs1 lakh to any person who can give information about poachers.
"We believe the move will help police and forest officials check poaching and protect the one-horned rhinos and other animal species in the protected areas of Assam," Hussain said.
He said the department would keep secret the identity of the people who give information about poachers.
The minister also said the first and second battalions of the Assam Forest Protection Force (AFPF) have been deployed inside the Kaziranga National Park to intensify patrolling.
The Assam government has already adopted several measures to stop poaching of one-horned rhinos. These include arming forest guards with sophisticated weapons so that they can fight the firepower of the poachers and amending the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, so that poachers can be awarded life sentences.
The government has also installed thermal cameras at selected locations inside the Kaziranga National Park to detect any abnormal movement in and around the park, a major tourist attraction of the state and also a Unesco World Heritage site.