After more than a decade-and-a-half of having been hunted down ruthlessly, the single horned mammal seems to be in safe hands now. As reported by The Hindustan Times, rhino poaching in Kaziranga has slowed down thanks to fast-track courts, night-vision cameras and sophisticated weaponry.
The lowest count since 2001, only two rhinocerous were killed this year at the national park. Park data reportedly reveals that 143 rhinos were gunned down by poachers in 12 years of which around 70 per cent were killed in the last five years, triggering the need for better conservation efforts.
Sustained surveillance by the park rangers using night-vision cameras, drones and a control room monitoring live feed from cameras installed on eight 90-foot towers helped achieve this feat. “These cameras enable us to track poachers and take action before they strike,” Kaziranga director Satyendra Singh is quoted as saying. Another change that led to the massive reduction in the murder of these endangered being is that the guards now carry sophisticated weapons in place of the obsolete 303 service rifles.
“We use night-vision cameras and AK-series rifles in our fight against poachers,” said officer in-charge of Jakhalabandha police station Deben Borah, whose team caught 260 poachers in three years. Eight killers were convicted this year alone thanks to the setting up of a fast-track court.
Arms from villagers near the park were confiscated, and efforts were made to rehabilitate and provide alternate employment to poor villagers who are usually approached by poachers for the task. “These confidence-building measures coupled with frequent interaction with villagers led to better intelligence gathering and more arrests of poachers,” said Singh. This seems to have made a major difference as the number of rhinos poached last year was at 18.
Efforts are on to keep the rhino safe as officials are aware that with the rhino horn fetching around Rs One crore a kilogram in the international market, poachers would up their game too.
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