The Assam forest department has faced a new challenge to protect one-horned rhinoceros in the state after a case of poachers using tranquillizers to remove rhino horn has come to light in Assam’s Orang National Park.
According to the reports, poachers chopped off the horn without killing a sub-adult rhino in the national park.
The park officials had come to know about the incident on May 9 and found dehorned a sub-adult male rhino, aged between 10-12 years at the Muwamari area inside the park.
Pradipta Baruah, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of Mangaldai wildlife division told ANI that, following the incident the PCCF (Wildlife), Chief Wildlife Warden and a veterinary doctor team of Assam State Zoo had visited the park and suspected that poachers had used tranquillizer gun.
“This is the first instance of poaching a rhino horn using a tranquillizer gun in Orang National Park. There was no bullet injury found on the rhino. First time we thought it to be a case of infighting, but when we closely monitored along with experts it suggests that it is a poaching case and the horn was axed away,” Pradipta Baruah said.
He further said that the rhino’s condition is now stable and healthy.
“It has now become a big threat to the wildlife in Assam, especially one-horned rhinoceros, that poachers have used tranquillizer gun for poaching rhino horn. We have suspected that veterinary experts might be involved in this incident because only veterinary experts know the use of drugs for tranquillizing an animal. The tranquillizer gun, drugs are not also available in open market, so we have to investigate this case properly,” the DFO said.
The Orang National Park and Tiger Reserve has counted 125 rhinos in the recently concluded rhino census. (ANI)