February 18, 2014

INDIA: Rhinos Being Killed With Alarming Frequency In Assam. >:/

The Times of India
written by Staff
Monday February 17, 2014

GUWAHATI- The killing of seven rhinos in the state within a span of a month-and-a-half has proved once again that poachers can still strike the one-horned pachyderm at will and almost with impunity.

Of the seven rhinos killed since January this year, six were from Kaziranga National Park alone and one from Manas National Park. Both are Unesco world heritage sites.

This month, poachers managed to kill two rhinos almost back to back — one was gunned down on Thursday and the other on Friday.

"We have stepped up our operations in the suspected hideouts of poachers and also within Kaziranga. We are also meticulously following intelligence inputs on the movement of the poachers and their possible shelters. We are hopeful of catching hold of them soon," Kaziranga director MK Yadav said.

Worldwide, there has been a rise in the killing of rhinos primarily because of the soaring demand for its horn. Wildlife crime experts attributed the spurt in poaching in the state to an international clandestine network of poachers who are always the lookout for safer places to hunt down the animal.

According to Save The Rhino (STR), an international NGO engaged in conservation of African and Asian rhinos, in 2012 in South Africa alone, a staggering 668 rhinos were killed by poachers.

"Poaching is by no means limited to South Africa; rhino poaching is surging across the entire African continent and is a constant threat to the smaller rhino populations in Asia," an STR statement said. It added that poaching was fuelled by the illegal trade in rhino horn and attributed the rise in poaching to the growing demand for rhino horn in Asian countries like China and Vietnam where it is believed to have medicinal value.

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