Faced with a spate of poaching of rhinos in the Kaziranga National Park in the past few weeks and mounting criticism,the Assam government on Tuesday released 200 self-loading rifles (SLRs) for the protection force deployed there,with Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi saying that his government was committed to protect rhinos and other inmates of the park.
The Assam government had already deployed 100 additional forest protection personnel in Kaziranga in the past two days.
Poachers have gunned down as many as 15 rhinos across the state in the current year,13 of them belonging to Kaziranga.
The recent killing of rhinos in Kaziranga has been a matter of serious concern. Our government has viewed it very seriously and would do everything to protect the rhinos and other wildlife from poachers and natural calamities like floods. We will plug all loopholes to bring an end to poaching, Gogoi said.
Gogoi,who formally handed over 200 SLRs to the Assam Forest Protection Force here,also said the weapons would definitely raise the confidence level of the forest guards who work round the clock in Kaziranga.