Poachers Killed 143 Rhinos in Kaziranga in Past 12 Years

143 one horned rhinoceros were killed in Assam’s Kaziranga National Park (KNP) in the past 12 years, Assam government said.

In the Assam legislative assembly, the Assam forest minister Rockybul Hussain said since the year 2001 to 2013 up to February, total 143 one horned rhinos were killed in Kaziranga.

During the period, poachers killed 10 rhinos in 2001, 5 in 2002, 6 in 2003, 5 in 2004, 12 in 2005, 9 in 2006, 19 in 2007, 12 in 2008, 14 in 2009, 8 in 2010, 9 in 2011, 22 in 2012 and 12 in 2013 upto the month of February.

The state forest minister said during the period, forest guards killed 54 poachers and apprehended 549 poachers with the anti-poaching operation in the KNP.

“Forest guards nabbed 32 poachers in 2001, 22 in 2002, 12 in 2003, 36 in 2004, 56 in 2005, 57 in 2006, 35 in 2007, 40 in 2008, 31 in 2009, 49 in 2010, 20 in 2011, 148 in 2012 and 11 in this year upto the month of February,” the minister said.

The forest department deployed 300 jawans of Assam Forest Protection Force (AFPF) in Kaziranga to protect wild animals and fight against poachers.

Several organizations including WWF-India had raised their voice against rhino killings in Kaziranga and urged the state government and forest department to take necessary action to protect wild animals in the world heritage site.

Meanwhile, the state government and forest department had announced that the government will be distributing AK series rifle to the forest guards in Kaziranga to fight against poachers who had used AK series rifles in recent rhino killings in the park.

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