Assam last year recorded zero poaching of rhinos, which are prized for their horns that fetch big money in some countries for alleged medicinal value
An adult rhino was poached and its horn removed in Assam’s Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve (KNPTR) in the first such incident in the state after zero-poaching last year, an official said on Monday.
The carcass of the rhino with the missing horn was found in KNPTR’s Bagori range on Sunday afternoon. “The carcass, which was partially decomposed, was found on the bank of a water body inside the park’s Bagori range. It is a clear case of poaching,” said divisional forest officer Ramesh Gogoi.
He said a round of .303 rifle was found near the carcass indicating the rhino was shot dead before the poachers removed its horn and fled from the spot. “There will be more clarity about the exact cause of death after a postmortem. The incident seems to have taken place around a week ago. As the carcass is decomposed, it is unclear whether the animal was a male or female,” said Gogoi.
Assam recorded zero poaching of rhinos last year for the first time in 47 years. Rhinos are prized for their horns, which fetch big money in some countries for alleged medicinal value.
According to official figures, 191 rhinos were poached in Assam between 2000 and 2021. The highest 27 rhino deaths each were recorded in 2013 and 2014 and the lowest in 2020 and 2021 (two each).
Forest and police officials said zero rhino poaching was reported in 2022 for the first time since 1977 due to their coordinated efforts.