Assam Forest Minister and Journalists Discuss Efforts to Curb Rhino Poaching

Assam Forest Minister on Curbing Rhino Poaching

Assam forest minister Atuwa Munda on Sunday discussed with Assam journalists how to curb rhino poaching incidents and to protect wild animals in the state.

During the discussion held at Assam state zoo in Guwahati, the minister urged journalists and several leaders of civil societies, and other organizations to cooperate on anti-poaching campaigns.

“We have already discussed in the failures of the forest department not to curb rhino poaching incidents. I ordered the forest officials including the Kaziranga National Park, Manas National Park, Orang National Park and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary authorities to take all stern action against poachers and other persons involved in the poaching,” Assam forest minister Atuwa Munda said.

Assam has lost six one horned rhinoceros to poaching this year so far, including five alone in Kaziranga National Park.

In 2014, poachers killed at least 36 rhinos in the state. On the final day of 2014, poachers killed a pregnant one horned rhino. A guard was killed as he tried to protect her.

In January this year, forest guards killed five poachers in two separate encounters. On one day, they killed one poacher, and chased two others. A 25-minute gun battle ensued, ending with the death of the other two poachers. A week later, two more poachers were killed in Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary

Over the past three years, 109 rhinos have been killed. In the first poaching incident of 2015, a five member poacher group entered Kaziranga National Park and killed the rhino near the Kathalchang forest camp.

Kaziranga National Park authority has published the names of more than 300 poachers and announced cash rewards for giving information about poachers.

Hemanta Kumar Nath is a correspondent in Assam, India, who reports on local news in Assam, the north east Indian state.