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Wildlife in Orang National Park under threat

By Correspondent

MANGALDAI, Oct 21 � The State Government�s long apathy towards regular release of wages to the trained Home Guards and the casual staff who are the frontliners in wildlife protection at the Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park, the lone natural habitat of the one-horned rhino on the north bank of the Brahmaputra, has become a matter of serious concern for the park authority as about 25 Home Guards reportedly have not yet joined duty after they went on leave during Durga Puja.

According to forest department sources, the Orang National Park which has a total forest security strength of about 200 persons, the Home Guards strength stands at 68. The Home Guards engaged in 40 different anti-poaching camps within the forest along with the permanent and casual forest staff have been deprived of their regular wages for the last five months in the current financial year, the source added.

Like the Home Guards about 40 casual staff of the National Park are not getting their monthly wages since the month of June last forest source informed.

It is not only the temporary staff but also the permanent forest staff who have been deprived of their dues. While talking to this correspondent few permanent staff who refused to disclose their names alleged that during this current financial year the government failed to release the monthly amount of Rs 500 against ration for each of the 80 permanent staff of the Park.

Such a situation has definitely effected the morale of the forest staff who need to maintain round the clock vigil on the protection of wild lives in the deep jungles and long away from their family members expressed one responsible forest official.

With the growing threat of rhino poaching from neighbouring state like Nagaland in one hand and the forest protection staff are being deprived of their due wages and rations on the other hand, the wildlife protection in the National Park has turned to be matter of serious concern as observed by the nature lovers of Darrang district.

It may well be mentioned that a rhino poaching network based at few �char� areas under Lahorighat and Moirabari police stations in Morigaon district has involved hired �sharp shooters� from Nagaland to kill rhinos in the national park and one Naga �sharp shooter� called Laltha from Dimapur has already been involved in a recent poaching attempt in the park.

This sensational information was gathered by the park authority from the statement of one Rustam Ali (20) of Jaogoria char under Lahorighat PS in Morigaon district who along with his Naga counterpart escaped a fierce gun battle with the forest staff on September 11 last but surrendered before DFO, Mangaldai Wild Life Division, Sushil Kr Dyla and deposited one .303 rifle along with 10 rounds of live ammunitions on October 14.

According to the DFO a total of eight poachers have been killed in anti-poaching operation in the park and other 49 persons have been arrested during past two years. The operations also managed to seize 6 nos .303 rifle, one pistol and 4 hand made guns along with huge cache of ammunitions.

On the contrary during this period poachers chopped off four horns after killing rhinos and three of the such horns are yet to be recovered by the forest department as disclosed by the DFO, Mangaldai Wildlife Division.

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Wildlife in Orang National Park under threat

MANGALDAI, Oct 21 � The State Government�s long apathy towards regular release of wages to the trained Home Guards and the casual staff who are the frontliners in wildlife protection at the Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park, the lone natural habitat of the one-horned rhino on the north bank of the Brahmaputra, has become a matter of serious concern for the park authority as about 25 Home Guards reportedly have not yet joined duty after they went on leave during Durga Puja.

According to forest department sources, the Orang National Park which has a total forest security strength of about 200 persons, the Home Guards strength stands at 68. The Home Guards engaged in 40 different anti-poaching camps within the forest along with the permanent and casual forest staff have been deprived of their regular wages for the last five months in the current financial year, the source added.

Like the Home Guards about 40 casual staff of the National Park are not getting their monthly wages since the month of June last forest source informed.

It is not only the temporary staff but also the permanent forest staff who have been deprived of their dues. While talking to this correspondent few permanent staff who refused to disclose their names alleged that during this current financial year the government failed to release the monthly amount of Rs 500 against ration for each of the 80 permanent staff of the Park.

Such a situation has definitely effected the morale of the forest staff who need to maintain round the clock vigil on the protection of wild lives in the deep jungles and long away from their family members expressed one responsible forest official.

With the growing threat of rhino poaching from neighbouring state like Nagaland in one hand and the forest protection staff are being deprived of their due wages and rations on the other hand, the wildlife protection in the National Park has turned to be matter of serious concern as observed by the nature lovers of Darrang district.

It may well be mentioned that a rhino poaching network based at few �char� areas under Lahorighat and Moirabari police stations in Morigaon district has involved hired �sharp shooters� from Nagaland to kill rhinos in the national park and one Naga �sharp shooter� called Laltha from Dimapur has already been involved in a recent poaching attempt in the park.

This sensational information was gathered by the park authority from the statement of one Rustam Ali (20) of Jaogoria char under Lahorighat PS in Morigaon district who along with his Naga counterpart escaped a fierce gun battle with the forest staff on September 11 last but surrendered before DFO, Mangaldai Wild Life Division, Sushil Kr Dyla and deposited one .303 rifle along with 10 rounds of live ammunitions on October 14.

According to the DFO a total of eight poachers have been killed in anti-poaching operation in the park and other 49 persons have been arrested during past two years. The operations also managed to seize 6 nos .303 rifle, one pistol and 4 hand made guns along with huge cache of ammunitions.

On the contrary during this period poachers chopped off four horns after killing rhinos and three of the such horns are yet to be recovered by the forest department as disclosed by the DFO, Mangaldai Wildlife Division.