Not a single one-horned rhino in Assam was poached in 2022, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Tuesday. Strict vigil by armed commandos and forest personnel as well as the use of “sophisticated technology” helped Assam achieve this target.
Himanta Biswa Sarma said that this feat has been achieved by the state after at least 20 years. “It has probably been 20-25 years since Assam reported no poaching of even a single rhino in a year.” The last poaching incident took place on December 28, 2021 at Hilakunda, Kohora in Golaghat district.
In June 2021, the Assam government formed a 22-member task force headed by special director General of police (law and order) GP Singh and deployed armed commandos for vigil and strict action against poachers.
The government had additionally set up a 22-member task force to check poaching which comprised senior forest officers and SPs of at least 11 districts, and divisional forest officers of six wildlife divisions. The districts include Golaghat, Nagaon, Karbi Anglong, Biswanath, Sonitpur, Darrang, Morigaon, Baksa, Chirang, Barpeta and Majuli.
Rhino poaching had become a serious concern in the state, with 2013 and 2014 witnessing at least 27 deaths. At least 18 rhinos were killed in 2016 following which the number consistently reduced with only one rhino poached in 2021.
Kaziranga National Park is now home to 2,613 Rhinos and the numbers are increasing, as per the latest census data put out by the national park authority.
To clearly convey the message to poachers that rhino horns don’t have any medicinal or monetary value, the Assam government had publicly burnt a stockpile of 2,479 horns in September. “The use of rhinos’ horns for medicinal purposes is a myth,” Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had then said.
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