Alert officials foil rhino poaching in Assam

January 23rd, 2012 - 10:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Sushil Kumar Guwahati, Jan 23 (IANS) Officials and forest guards at the Kaziranga national park and another reserve in Assam successfully foiled attempts by poachers to kill rhinos in two separate incidents.

At the Kaziranga national park, forest guards resorted to gunfire when a gang of three poachers sneaked into the Bagori forest range of the park Monday.

The combing operation in the dense area of the park lasted for several hours but the poachers managed to escape. The poachers, however, could not kill any rhino, the Kaziranga park officials confirmed.

“We heard a gunshot inside the forest. Our staff also opened fire in retaliation. But no person was injured in the exchange of fire. The poachers, equipped with a .303 firearm, however, managed to escape,” the official said.

The second incident took place at Orang national park where a gang of poachers entered the park on the night of Jan 18.

“The gang of poachers entered Orang national park through south-western boundary on Jan 18. They camped there and attempted to kill a rhino,” said Mangaldoi wildlife divisional forest officer, Sushil Kumar Daila, adding that the forest officials carried out a combing operation and pushed out the poachers Monday morning.

Anti-poaching operation in the two national parks have been intensified following increasing incidents of poachers trying to kill rhinos for their horns, which are in demand in Southeast Asian markets for traditional medicine.

“We have identified the poacher as one Md. Idris and raided his house in Dalgaon area. But he was found absconding at the time of the raid,” Daila said, adding that they have stepped up patrolling as the poachers may try again to sneak in.

A senior park official of Kaziranga said that poachers are increasingly targeting rhinos that stray out of the park.

In the past one month, poachers have killed three out of seven rhinos that strayed out of the park. “We have issued notification to all nearby forest divisions to take special security measure after rhinos stray out from their areas,” he added.

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