India Insight

Rhino attacked, tiger killed as floods ravage Northeast

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.”

No hope for the Indian tiger?

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With three tiger deaths in the first two weeks of the new year, 2010 has started with warning bells ringing for the environment ministry and tiger conservationists in India.

According to the Wildlife Protection Society of India, there have been 84 tiger deaths, by both natural and poaching causes, in 2009-10.

Considering that the last count of tigers in 2008 was 1411, wildlife experts say tigers could be extinct in 20 years.

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