Assam rhino toll this year goes up to 17
Guwahati: Poachers in Assam have killed 17 rhinos already this year, officials said Friday. The latest carcass with the missing horn was found a day after a trial run of an aerial vehicle was completed over the Kaziranga National Park for tracking poachers.
The carcass was spotted Friday by forest guards during patrol near Pohumari area under Agaratoli forest range of the high security park, its director N.K. Vasu said. It was a male adult rhino, he added.
"We are not sure about the exact timing when the rhino was killed. There was an encounter between the forest guards and poachers about three days back. We suspect the rhino was killed around three days back," said Vasu.
The poaching of one-horned rhinos in Assam has become an issue of serious embarrassment for the state government, forcing it to go for a CBI probe into rampant poaching.
Assam Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain recently told the media that he has received a letter from the Union ministry of personnel, public grievances and pensions accepting the state government's plea for a CBI probe into rhino poaching.
The park authorities earlier this week carried out a four-day trial run of an unmanned aerial vehicle to understand measures for better surveillance of the national park. The proposal for using the UAV is waiting a clearance from the defence ministry. The exercise ended Thursday.
During the recently concluded budget session of the assembly, the Congress government in Assam was cornered by opposition parties over the unabated rhino poaching.
Rockybul Hussain told the assembly that during the past 10 years, poachers have killed a total of 126 one-horned rhinos in Assam.