Forest guards in Assam get modern weapons to check rhino poaching
Forest guards were given 954 Self-Loading Rifles (SLRs), 272 INSAS rifles, 133 rifles of .12 bore, 20 of 9 MM pistols and 91 Ghatak rifles.india Updated: Feb 18, 2018 16:18 IST
Forest guards in Assam were on Sunday given modern weapons like SLRs and 9 MM pistols to check poaching of rhinos, tigers and other wild animals.
Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal said 10 wildlife fast-track courts were set up to exclusively deal with poaching and other related crimes against wild animals for the first time in the country.
“We have put protection of wildlife in high priority. Accordingly, we have today launched a new programme - modernisation of arms and equipment for protection, rescue and rehabilitation of rhinos, tigers and other wildlife,” he told PTI.
According to the plan, forest guards were given 954 Self-Loading Rifles (SLRs), 272 INSAS rifles, 133 rifles of .12 bore, 20 of 9 MM pistols and 91 Ghatak rifles.
The chief minister said ever since the BJP came to power in Assam nearly two years ago, 197 poachers were arrested and eight were killed by security guards while as many as 59 poachers were convicted for their crimes against wildlife.
“We hope that speedy trial and conviction of poachers will go a long way for protection of wildlife in the state,” he said.
Assam has five national parks and 19 wildlife sanctuaries. The state is home to more than 91 per cent of Indian rhinos (2,431 rhinos as per 2015 census). It is also home to 167 tigers, 248 leopards, 1,169Â Swamp deer besides a large number of wild buffaloes, different varieties of deer and other animals.
According to an estimate tabled in the state Assembly this month, altogether 74 rhinos were killed by poachers in Assam since 2015 and 316 poachers arrested during 2015-17.
First Published: Feb 18, 2018 16:05 IST