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Call to intensify drives against rhino poaching

By The Assam Tribune

GUWAHATI, June 22 - Nature�s Beckon and Journalists� Forum Assam (JFA) have expressed dismay at the poaching of another one-horned rhinoceros in the Kaziranga National Park (KNP) in a fortnight and demanded stringent action against the culprits.

The organisations said killing of the seventh rhino so far this year in the most protected forest reserve establishes the fact that the poachers are more organised and the international wildlife trade remains too aggressive to be dealt with than it was understood.

Assam witnessed the killing of 12 rhinos this year, with the KNP at seven losing the highest number of the precious animal, followed by the Orang National Park losing three and the Burhachapori Wildlife Sanctuary and the Manas National Park losing one each till date.

�Relentless poaching of rhinos in the KNP indicates the desperate attempt by criminals to sabotage the anti-poaching conservative initiative. But authorities must intensify their operations and target the poachers and also the illegal wildlife traders across North East India,� said a statement issued by Nature�s Beckon and JFA.

Both the organisations have also expressed their appreciation of the recent crackdown on rhino poaching by the new State government, which resulted in the arrest of many professional poachers. �Interrogation of those poachers and necessary investigation may lead to some vital clues regarding the illegal wildlife trade,� added the organisations.

Both Nature�s Beckon and JFA had claimed a decade back that a section of Assam�s forest officials were involved in the illegal wildlife trade. �Our stand has been vindicated by the recent statement of the State Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahma,� asserted the statement.

The organisations said the forest department still has dedicated forest officials and workers. �They should be strengthened by the department and their conservation initiative should be supported by nature-loving people. In addition to it, the fringe villagers and committed skilled youths may be engaged effectively in the protection initiatives,� added the statement. � Staff Reporter

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