Now dogs to the rescue of Kaziranga rhinos

January 22nd, 2012 - 12:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, Jan 22 (IANS) Humble dogs have come to the rescue of the famed one-horned rhinoceros in Assam’s Kaziranga National Park.

The authorities at the park, located about 240 km from Assam’s main city of Guwahati, have decided to use the services of sniffer dogs to trace the movements of poachers and catch them.

Surajit Dutta, director of the park, told IANS: “We have brought one sniffer dog here recently. The basic objective is to trace the movements of poachers and catch them.”

“This is the first time we are using sniffer dogs on a trial basis. If we succeed we are going to bring more to be used in various sectors of the national park,” Dutta said.

There are 2,048 rhinos in Kaziranga as per the last rhino census conducted in the park in 2009. But poaching incidents are increasing - while five rhinos were hunted in the park last year, two have already been killed so far in January.

The park authorities are struggling against poachers who use modern weapons to kill the rare species. The rhino is hunted due to its horn, which is in high demand in the markets of many Southeast Asian countries and China where it is used in traditional medicines like for aphrodisiacs.

“We used the sniffer dog Thursday in the eastern part of the national park where there were reports of poacher movement. The operation was successful as we found some clues regarding their presence,” he said adding the sniffer dog led the authorities to some footprints.

“However, there is a difficulty in using sniffer dogs. There are tigers inside the park and it may not be feasible for us to use them in certain locations,” he said.

But, he said, “we can certainly use the dogs in outside areas to trace the movement of poachers.”

Apart from Kaziranga, one horned rhinos are found in the Pobitara wildlife sanctuary (Assam), Orang National Park (Assam), Manas National Park, (Assam), Dudhwa National Park (Uttar Pradesh) and in some places in Nepal.

(Anup Sharma can be contacted at anup.s@ians.in)

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