The Sentinel | June 26, 2020
GUWAHATI: Rhino-poaching activities have significantly come down in Assam what with only 29 killed by poachers across the State during the last four years (from June 2016 till May 2020). While a total of 512 rhinos died during this period, 483 rhinos died due to various natural and climatic causes, reveal data of the Office of the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Wildlife & Chief Wildlife Warden.
Refuting reports in the social media over the alleged rising death rate of the one-horned rhinoceros in Assam, Deputy Conservator of Forest (Publicity) Wildlife wing KK Deuri when contacted told The Sentinel, “Among the natural and climatic reasons that led to the death of 483 rhinos during the period are old-age, various ailments, natural calamities like floods, and clashes with its own species and other animals like tigers.
“About 80 to 100 rhinos annually die due to natural calamities. Altogether 27 died during the floods in 2016; 40 in 2017; and 25 rhinos died in the floods of 2019. From 2012 to 2015, while 332 rhinos due to natural and climatic causes.”
Dwelling on poaching activities, he said, “The present government’s active policy to curb poaching has delivered the results. The formation of a special force for the protection of rhinos with its personnel armed with sophisticated weapons has boosted the morale of the Forest guards. As a result, the number of rhinos falling prey to poachers has significantly come down. While 106 rhinos were killed by poachers in Assam between 2012 and 2015, only 29 were hunted by poachers from June 2016 to May 2020.
In Assam, three National Parks and one Wildlife Sanctuary are natural habitats of the one-horned rhinos. As per the 2018 estimation of the department, there are 2,650 rhinos in the State. Of them, 2,413 are in the Kaziranga National Park (KNP), 34 in Manas National Park, 101 in Orang National Park, and 102 in the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary.