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Assam mulls pruning rhinos’ horns to curb poaching in Kaziranga (March)

 

 

 

Indian Express, Delhi, Monday 24th March 2014

Struggling to save rhinos from poachers who have now equipped themselves with AK-series weapons, the Assam government has come out with an “experimental” idea of trimming horns of the rhinos translocated or straying out of the Kaziranga National Park.

The government’s proposal was made public through an advertisement in local newspapers over the week, inviting citizens opinion on the pros and cons. “Individuals and organisations are also to inform why trimming of horn must be done/must not be done, giving proper justification,” the ad said.

The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) of Assam had recently constituted a committee to ascertain the feasibility and necessity for trimming horns particularly of translocated and stray rhinos.

NGOs and groups in the field of conservation have not welcomed the government’s idea. “What is immediately required is to gear up the protection mechanism and go all-out against the poachers. Kaziranga, or for that matter all the parks and sanctuaries that have rhino population across the state, needs more effective protection. Trimming of horns can wait to become the last option,” said Bibhab Talukdar of Aaranyak, an NGO. “Though some countries in Africa have adopted this measure to save rhinos, it is yet to be declared as a foolproof protection strategy,” Talukdar, who is also Asian Rhino Programme coordinator for International Rhino Foundation, said. The proposal has become a hot topic on social media. “Whoever has come up with this idea should have one of their body parts trimmed…” one participant said.