Rhino carcass with horn missing found in north Bengal sanctuary
Rhino poaching in North Bengal forests, which are contiguous to Assam forests, is a big challenge as international rackets are active in the region.Updated: Nov 01, 2019, 06:13 IST
The carcass of a male rhino with its horn missing was found inside Jaldapara National Park in Alipurduar district of north Bengal on Thursday morning. This comes about 10 months after another rhino was found in Gorumara National Park in Jalpaiguri district towards the end of December last year.
“The rhino’s horn was missing and the animal had bullet marks on its body,” said Bengal additional principal chief conservator of forest, VK Sood.
While refusing to make an official statement, forest department officers indicated that poachers from Assam, with the help of locals, shot dead the one-horned rhino at 54 beat area inside the western range of the national park.
Senior forest officials said that on Thursday morning, villagers told them that they heard gunshots on Wednesday night. Subsequently, a special patrol was conducted, leading to the discovery of the carcass.
“This is the second rhino poaching in Jaldapara National Park since 2015,” said an official. Jaldapara National Park is one of four forest tracts in India where the one-horned rhino can be seen in the wild. The others are Assam’s Kaziranga and Manas national parks and Bengal’s Gorumara National Park.
In February 2018, six people, including a sharpshooter from Arunachal Pradesh and a teacher, were arrested after an adult rhino was killed and its horn chopped off in Jaldapara, about 74 km away.
“North Bengal is a happy hunting ground for poachers. Since 1951, more than 70 rhinos have been killed in north Bengal,” said Himalayan Nature and Adventure Foundation program coordinator, Animesh Bose.
Rhino poaching in North Bengal forests, which are contiguous to Assam forests, is a big challenge as international rackets are active in the region. According to a census this year, the population of the one-horned rhino in North Bengal has reached 289, of which 237 are in Jaldapara and 52 in Gorumara.
The number of rhinos in Bengal was 223 in 2008 and 253 in 2015.