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Monday, Aug 19, 2019

Adult rhino killed in Jaldapara National Park in north Bengal, six arrested

Last year three rhinos were killed in north Bengal.

kolkata Updated: Feb 08, 2018 14:34 IST
Pramod Giri
Pramod Giri
Hindustan Times
Representational image. Jaldapara and Gorumara are two national parks in north Bengal where rhinos are found.
Representational image. Jaldapara and Gorumara are two national parks in north Bengal where rhinos are found.(HT Photo)

Jaldapara Forest Division officials in north Bengal arrested six persons after an adult rhino was killed and its horn chopped off at Jaldapara National Park on February 5.

The carcass of the animal was then buried in Torsa riverbed in inside the forest under NEC beat in Kodalbustee range. It was recovered on Wednesday.

Read: With drones and AK-series rifles, Kaziranga brings down rhino poaching to 16-year low

Six persons were arrested in the past 36 hours and the horn was seized.

“Interrogation of those arrested led to the recovery of a .303 rifle from inside the forest,” said Ujjwal Ghosh, the chief conservator of forest (wild life).

Those arrested were identified as Marto Riba from West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh, Sanjib Lama from Siliguri, Raju Rava from Uttar Mendabari near Jaldapara, Sevok Kami and Rupesh Rava from Kodalbustee and Rajib Rava from Banarhat.

Read: Pangolin, tiger, leopard and rhino were most poached animals in India in 2017: Survey

Ghosh alleged an international racket including poachers from the north east are involved in the crime.

Incidents of poaching are not new for Jaldapara. Since 1951 more than 70 rhinos have been killed in north Bengal.

The menace reached its peak between 1968 and 1972, when as many as 28 rhinos were killed. Three were killed in 2017.

In 2017 April two rhinos were killed in Gorumara National Park. In May there was an exchange of gunfire between security personnel and poachers at the Dhupjhora area of the forest.

The Jaldapara National Park is one among four forest tracts in India where the one-horned rhino is found in the wild. The other three are Assam’s Kaziranga and Manas national parks and Bengal’s Gorumara National Park.

There are about 3,000 Indian rhinos in the wild, half of them in Kaziranga alone. Jaldapara has around 200 animals and attracts thousands of tourists every year.

Conservationists and wild life activists blame poaching on the lack of staff. According to Animesh Bose of Himalayan Nature and Adventure Foundation,the forest department is suffering from a 36% shortage of employees.

“Whenever we ask for filling up the posts, officials give us assurances, but nothing happens,” alleged Bose.

First Published: Feb 08, 2018 14:34 IST

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