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Are Tigers denied Honourable Death?

  Should a wild tiger be allowed to die its natural death in the jungle when injured after aterritorial fight or in natural course  or it should be  given medical treatment  when found injured.For long, this question has baffled the wildlife managers, many of whom are of the opinion that a wild tiger should not be denied an honorable death. Let the law of the jungle prevail and there should be no interference with nature. Treat or Not to Treat: Dilemma Continues   So a tiger carrying an injury in its natural course of life in the jungle (not due toany human action) – should it be treated with medicines? Though this question has been raised for the past many years, NTCA guidelines prohibit such intervention(of medication). A one-word answer for the question seems to be difficult ,especially in the times when most of the people are concerned moreover thetiger numbers. India along with other 13 tiger range countries has been workingfor the past few years to double the number of the big c

Big Step Towards Conservation of Kaziranga Rhino

The World Rhino day (WRD) – September 22- is going to witness an unprecedented happening in Assam.  The state government has decided to set ablaze nearly 2,500 confiscated rhinoceros’ horns on this day to spread a message against the illegal multi-million dollar  trade of the horns. The pachyderm, listed as vulnerable on the IUCN red list , is  killed for its horns. Preparations are underway at Bokakhat in Assam's Golaghat district, near Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve (KNPTR), to destroy 2,479 pieces of rhino horn housed in state treasuries. This will be done publicly. These horns confiscated from poachers have been piling for years in the government treasuries . Home to these beautiful animals, Kaziranga is a world heritage site. It is a major wildlife tourism attraction.   

Myths of Aphrodisiac and Illegal Trade of Horns

Long ago, North-East India’s active conservation group Nature’s Beckon had claimed that the state forest department used to sell rhino horns even after India adopted the wildlife protection act in 1972. The department allegedly sold , it alleged , over 350 horns  from 1972 to onwards  till early eighties. The group asserted a large share of wildlife parts from the department's stocks were sold in international markets. In 2016, the Assam government constituted the Rhino Horn Verification Committee (RHVC) to study the specimens kept in 12 treasuries across the state. During the verification process, the RHVC  also recorded the world’s largest horn, weighing 3.051 kg and 36 cm in height. The horn was recovered in 1982 in the Bagori range of Kaziranga national Park. Patriotic People’s Front Assam (PPFA), a northeast India based forum of nationalists, supports the to dispose of wildlife parts including the rhino horns, but it demands full transparency in the process. It has also urged the state chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to ensure that only the genuine horns are burnt in presence of distinguished personalities in full public view. 

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There are 2,623 horns stored in various treasuries of Assam. Of them 2,479 horns would be destroyed. The government has decided that 94 rhino horns will be preserved as heritage pieces for academic purposes, while 50 rhino horns will be preserved for court cases. The state forest and environment department has already conducted the verification process to identify fake horns from among the real ones  stored in  the treasuries across Assam . This was done to rule out any foul play. There has been a huge demand for these horns as there is a myth related to its aphrodisiac and medicinal values. They fetch millions of  dollar in illegal markets spread across East Asia Environmentalists feel that  this would also send a message  that rhino horns do not carry any aphrodisiac quality, for which the pachyderms are poached across the world. The people of Assam are also obsessed with the rhino as a pride and continue raising voices for its scientific conservation. 

Largest Population of One One-Horned Rhino 

With 2657 rhinos, Assam is home to the largest population of greater one-horned rhinos in India . Out of this, Kaziranga national park counted 2413 rhinos, Manas national Park has 43, Orang National Park has 101, and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary has 100 rhinos. 

Also read8- Year After Tiger Killing, Poachers  Get Jail Sentence  in MP

The latest incident  of  rhino  poaching   and the first in 2021 from Kaziranga National Park (KNP)  was reported in April this year . The poachers chopped off its  horn and escaped. According to the KNP authorities , one empty cartridge of .303 rifle was also recovered near the site. In May 2020,  when all the five national parks, 18 wildlife sanctuaries and zoos in Assam were shut down for tourists since due the spread of Covid-19, instances of movement of poachers moving around the jungles were reported. After lull of 13 months, poachers in May 2020  had poached a rhino in Kaziranga and  escaped with horn. And, alarmingly, it  was the first case of use of AK-47 rifles to kill rhino in the Agaratoli range of the park. “ Only trained  outlaws who know how to handle such arms can indulge in such kind of poaching. We suspect they had come from the nearby Karbi Anglong district,”   forest department sources had stated.  There was another poaching case reported in August 2020 .According to the state forest department data, poachers killed 12 rhinos in Kaziranga National Park between 2016 and 2020. 

Cover Pic: WWF


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