Skip to main content

Why no information with Assam state agency about female rhino poaching for a year?

By Nava Thakuria  

According to official claims, incidents of poaching related to rhinoceros in various forest reserves of Assam in northeast India have decreased drastically. Brutal laws against the poachers, strengthening of ground staff inside the protected forest areas and increasing public awareness in the fringe localities of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries across the State are the reasons cited for positively impacting the mission to save the one-horned rhinos.
Officials records suggest, only two rhinos were poached in Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve since 1 January 2021 till date. The last incident took place probably in the last week of December 2021, as a decomposed carcass of a fully-grown (around 30 years old) female rhino was recovered inside the world-famous forest reserve next month. As the precious horn was missing, for which the gigantic animal was apparently hunted down, it could not be a natural death.
Ironically, however, it was not confirmed when exactly the rhino was killed. The State authorities were unaware of the poaching till the middle of January 2022. Assam’s anti-rhino poaching task force chief GP Singh asserted on 15 January that ‘only one incident of rhino poaching had taken place at Kaziranga in April 2021’.
Paradoxically, State chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on 1 January even declared that Kaziranga recorded ‘zero’ rhino poaching cases in 2022. He added that it was the first time in two decades that there was no incident of rhino poaching across the State.
Supporting his stand, the State forest department “clarified” that the female rhino (whose carcass was recovered near Silekhunda camp under Kohora range in January last year) was killed on 28 December 2021.
But it may be difficult for the wildlife lovers to digest that no responsible state agency had the information about the female rhino poaching till 15 January. Moreover, the Kaziranga authority was also silent when the media outlets reported that particular incident as a case of rhino poaching in 2022.
Native to the Indian subcontinent, the single horn rhino (also known as rhinoceros unicorns) is one of the worst affected rhino species. The reason behind the poaching of rhinos is due to the high demand for horns in a number of countries (including China) where people term it as a black ivory. A matured horn may fetch a huge sum of money in the international market.
The animal enjoys great sexual power, as its mating time may continue for 45 minutes. So many people unscientifically believe that one can achieve the unusual power with the help of rhino horns (using it as a traditional Viagra).
The rhino horns are also believed to have other medicinal values supposing to cure the high fever, stomach ailment and cancer. Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea, Vietnam and the Middle East are also known to be huge markets for the horns, where the use of horns for medical purposes and scientific research are legalised.
Rhinos are recognized as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and India’s wildlife protection act gives enormous power to the rangers for protecting the grass-eating pachyderm. The veterinarians argue that rhino horns comprise the same protein that constitutes the formation of hair.
As the precious horn was missing, for which the gigantic animal was apparently hunted down, it could not be a natural death
Rhinos are recognised as a pride to the people of Assam and the 800 square kilometer Kaziranga reserve supports around 2,613 priced animals (whereas the global population of one-horned rhinos is around 3,700). The UNESCO world heritage site on the south bank of mighty river Brahmaputra also gives shelter to over 150 Royal Bengal tigers and around 250 leopards, over 5,500 Asiatic elephants, a sizable number of buffalos, different species of deer, birds, fishes, etc.
Besides Kaziranga, other forest reserves namely Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary (around 107 rhinos), Orang National Park (125) and Manas National Park (50) also support the rhino population to make a total count for Assam of over 2650 living rhinos. Every year, over 100 rhinos die because of natural causes in those forest reserves.
Assam expects to increase the rhino population to 3,000 as the incidents of poaching are claimed to be decreasing following the deployment of ground forces with sophisticated weapons and other modern gadgets.
There was a time when, in official count, Assam used to lose 27 rhinos to poachers in 2013 and 2014. Next year the count was reduced to 17, and 18 cases were reported in 2016. With the declining trend, 2017 witnessed only seven incidents of rhino poaching, followed by seven in 2018, three in 2019, two cases in 2020 and 2021. No less than 55 poachers were arrested last year, where four were killed in encounters. 
The development also attracted appreciation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi who complimented the government for maintaining efforts to conserve the critically endangered species.

Comments

TRENDING

'Scientifically flawed': 22 examples of the failure of vaccine passports

By Vratesh Srivastava*   Vaccine passports were introduced in late 2021 in a number of places across the world, with the primary objective of curtailing community spread and inducing "vaccine hesitant" people to get vaccinated, ostensibly to ensure herd immunity. The case for vaccine passports was scientifically flawed and ethically questionable.

US 'frustrated' with India’s discomfort: Maritime exercise in South China Sea

By Vijay Prashad*  In early April 2024, the navies of four countries -- Australia, Japan, the Philippines, and the United States -- held a maritime exercise in the South China Sea. Australia’s Warramunga, Japan’s Akebono, the Philippines’ Antonio Luna, and the United States’ Mobile worked together in these waters to strengthen their joint abilities and -- as they said in a joint statement  -- to “uphold the right to freedom of navigation and overflight and respect for maritime rights under international law.” 

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Dadi, poti discuss 'injustice' under 10 yr Modi rule: Video campaign goes viral

By Our Representative  Watan Ki Raah Mein, a civil society campaign of the Samvidhan Bachao Nagrik Abhiyan, has released a short video conversation on social media of an exchange of letters between a dadi and her poti discussing poverty, unemployment, corruption and women’s safety. The letters also raise the question of  suppression of our fundamental rights of speech, expression and justice. 

'Enough evidence': Covid vaccines impacted women's reproductive health

By Deepika*  In 2024, the news outlets have suddenly started reporting about covid vaccine side effects in a very extensive manner. Sadly, the damage is already done.

'Uncertainty in Iran': Raisi brokered crucial Chabahar Port deal with India

By Pranjal Pandey*  Ebrahim Raisi, the Iranian President, and the country’s foreign minister were tragically found deceased on May 20, 2024, shortly after their helicopter crashed in foggy conditions. In response, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei swiftly appointed a relatively unknown vice president as the interim leader.

Informal, outdoor workers 'excluded': Govt of India's excessive heat policies

Counterview Desk  Top civil rights network, National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), has demanded urgent government action to protect millions of outdoor workers from extreme heat and heatwaves, insisting declaration of heatwaves as climatic disaster.

Right to health and informed consent: Why 'revisit' Mission Indradhanush?

By Deepika*  Extending on to the subject of Misleading ads and acting responsibly , another aspect that needs highlighting is our right to health and to be made aware of quality of products, as pointed out by the Supreme Court.

Indian authorities 'evading' discussion on battery energy storage system

By Shankar Sharma*  In the larger context of the ever growing need and importance of renewable energy sources for a sustainable energy/ electricity sector in our country, the critical role of energy storage systems, especially the battery energy storage system (BESS), is being emphasised frequently at the global level, such as the one by  the International Energy Agency (IEA). Unfortunately, our authorities in India seem not to attach the same level of importance, which the BESS deserves.