September 28, 2012 1:13:21 am
Two rhinos fleeing the flood-hit Kaziranga park were shot at by poachers Thursday,leading to the death of one rhino. The incident,third in two days,prompted Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi to hand over the probe into rhino killings in the past three years to the CBI.
The state appointed Chief Conservator of Forests N K Vasu as senior director of Kaziranga in view of protests against its alleged failure to protect rhinos. It is unfortunate that poachers targeted two more rhinos after Wednesdays incident when they chopped off the horn of a rhino even when it was writhing in pain after a bullet injury. All three incidents have occurred in Karbi Anglong where the animals took shelter after the submergence of the park due to floods, Assam Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain said.
The female rhino whose horn was chopped off is still alive. Another rhino was found dead and its horn missing inside a tea estate in the district.
At least 11 Kaziranga rhinos have lost their lives or horns so far this year. In all, 41 rhinos have been killed in Assam in 2012.
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Centre orders probe
The Environment Ministry has sent a team to assess the situation in Kaziranga. It is very shocking that poachers attacked the helpless animals that were seeking shelter. I have ordered a probe by the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan said.
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