Wildlife group seek more action to protect Assam's rhinos

Expressing serious concerns over the spate of brutal rhino killings in Assam, the International Fund for Animal Welfare-Wildlife Trust of India (IFAW-WTI) Monday urged authorities to take immediate action to prevent further targeting of the animal.

According to the IFAW-WTI, 14 rhinos have been reportedly poached in and around Kaziranga National Park in the past four months alone.

Most of these rhinos were poached during the three waves of floods that had hit the state since June this year.

"Located in the Brahmaputra flood plains, the famed national park epitomizes successful conservation of rhinos.

The park now has more than 2,000 rhinos, which is 70 percent of the world's total one horned rhino population. However, the conservation challenge lies in protecting the rhino during the annual floods in the state," said a statement by the AFAW-WTI here.

During floods, animals from the low-lying Kaziranga move out of the park boundary in search of higher grounds. This leaves them vulnerable to poachers, the statement said.

The IFAW-WTI also stressed on the need to move beyond conservation in isolation, saying Kaziranga is a part of the greater Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong landscape, and must be conserved accordingly.

Securing Kaziranga is a good step, the NGO stressed, but it is equally crucial to ensure similar enhancement in neighboring areas, particularly in Karbi Anglong hills.

The frontline staff in these areas must also be strengthened to provide protection of rhinos in the entire landscape, it said.

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