Rhino attacked, tiger killed as floods ravage Northeast

September 26, 2012

Northeast India is home to several rare and endangered animal species, which means that Northeast India is also home to poachers. With floods ravaging Assam and other northeastern states and displacing some 2 million people, poachers appear to be using the opportunity to murder animals.

Suspected poachers attacked a rare one-horned rhino by shooting it and cutting off its horn, the BBC reported:

The rhino was wounded when shot and had its horn cut off after it wandered out of Kaziranga national park, which has been inundated by flood waters. … The rhino was one of many animals that moved to higher ground to escape the deluge. Guards lost track of it as it approached an elevated highway out of the park, Assam’s Chief Wildlife Warden Suresh Chand told the Associated Press news agency. The rhino was then shot by a group of poachers who afterwards cut off its horn, Mr. Chand said.

Poachers have killed 13 rhinos around the park in the past nine months, the BBC reported.

Meanwhile, poachers killed a 6-year-old female Royal Bengal tiger in her cage at a zoo in Arunachal Pradesh, according to a report in Mid-Day from Arunachal’s capital Itanagar. “The incident happened when guards had gone out for dinner.”

Because that’s what you do when you’re a guard; you go out for dinner and leave the tiger unguarded. It’s hard to say why poachers are still able to get away with killing animals, and it’s even harder to say how many of these incidents they were able to prevent. As long as rhino horns and other illegal spoils of these killings remain valuable, it looks like someone will find a way (did you ever think that keratin would be so valuable that you’d pay for someone to shoot a rhinoceros?). What I would like to know: what do people think will happen when the thing they need runs out? Do they think about it?

It’s not an idle question. There are about 2,000 rhinos in Assam, according to the Wikipedia report that I linked to above, which is a big improvement from an estimated 366 in 1966, but a long way from what the population once was. It’s highly unlikely that 2,000 rhinos is enough to keep the aphrodisiac market in business for long.

(Raja, an eight-year-old rescued Royal Bengal Tiger, rests inside South Kahayar Bari tiger rescue centre at Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary, about 160 km (99 miles) north of the eastern Indian city of Siliguri February 21, 2010. Reuters photo: Rupak De Chowdhuri)


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• It is really sad to see such a magnificent animal of Assam beeing killed so brutally just for commercial interests despite its endangered status. The very fact that Kaziranga is among the best managed national parks in our country & is the ONLY HOME FOR THE ONE HORNED RHINO, so the killing of 7 rhinos in just 4 days points to a nexus between the concerned forest officials, the poaching mafia & the politicians. Apart from the Tiger, the Rhinos, Elephants & several opther species are also endangered & I congratulate CNN IBN for highlighting the plight of the Rhino. I am really shocked that every year, we are losing 15-20 Rhinos to poaching & the State Govt & Centre has done nothing about it. IF THE GOVT CAN’T PROTECT OUR TREASURED ANIMALS, IT IS THE DUTY OF THE CITIZENS TO PROTECT OUR ENDANGERED ANIMALS AS EVEN THE GOVT HAS LET THEM DOWN JUST FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE. Monsoons are an yearly occurrence in Assam due to which the hapless animals go to a higher ground to escape the deluge where they fall an easy prey to the Poachers or are mowed down by speeding trucks driving down the Highway which passes through the Park.UNless the Centre & State Govts provide enough money & Security to the Parks, educate the concerned people including those who are involved in this illegal trade about the ominous threats to our endangered animals, impose criminal penalties on the Poachers & the Forest officials conniving with them & remove all human encroachments including Roads & Highways through all of our 500 National Parks, I am afraid all of our Endangered species are doomed to extinction. THIS PROBLEM HAS TO BE SERIOUSLY DISCUSSED WITH THE CHINESE GOVT & OTHER COUNTRIES INVOLVED IN THIS ILLEGAL TRADE TOO AS THEIR PEOPLE ARE THE CONSUMER MARKET FOR THIS ILLEGAL TRADE.

Posted by mandeep2 | Report as abusive

Thanks for the comment, and I apologize for not spotting it and posting it until today! -Robert

Posted by Robert MacMillan | Report as abusive