The Gauhati HC has asked the Assam government to stop poaching of rhinos in Kaziranga National Park “at any cost” and at the earliest, and directed authorities to submit a high-quality methodical report within two months intended at permanently curbing poaching there. The order has been passed by a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice A M Sapre and Justice A K Goswami on the basis of a PIL taken up suo motu by the high court in 2012, in which it also expressed “serious concern” over continued death of rhinos in Kaziranga at the hands of poachers.
The order came in the wake of the Kaziranga National Park director seeking two months time to come up with a comprehensive report containing proposals to curb poaching as also on related issues concerning conservation there.
“We express our serious concern about the incidences of poaching in Kaziranga National Park which have recently taken place and are taking place from time to time, and we view it seriously. At any cost, in our view, the same must be stopped at the earliest to save nature’s most priceless and precious endangered species rhino. Indeed it is our duty to preserve this god’s gift to this world at any cost,” the order passed on March 6 said.
Kaziranga National Park has lost at least eight rhinos in the current year, while 41 rhinos had fallen to bullets of poachers in the World Heritage Site during 2013, which was nearly double the number of rhinos Kaziranga had lost in 2012.
Meanwhile, Aaranyak, a leading biodiversity conservation NGO on Friday asked the authorities to impart jungle commando training to wildlife protection staff of Kaziranga and other national parks so that they can effectively tackle poachers who have started using AK-series weapons to gun down rhinos.
“Use of AK-series weapons by poachers has had a demoralizing effect on the wildlife protection personnel in Kaziranga. They need to be imparted training in jungle commando warfare preferably under supervision of the Army so that it makes them more effective and provides a moral boost,” said Aaranyak secretary general and noted conservationist Bibhabh Kumar Talukdar.
Talukdar, whose NGO has been campaigning for protection of forests, wildlife sanctuaries and wetlands from encroachment, also asked parties and leaders contesting the Lok Sabha election to make their stand clear on saving the biodiversity of the region.
UD has proposed that original residents of 45 resettlement colonies be given ownership rights to their tenements.