Kaziranga SA

  • Wild buffalo census on in KNP

    India's endangered wild buffalo, a favourite prey of tigers, is being counted at the Kaziranga National Park (KNP). The results will be out next week.

  • 10 rhinos killed in Kaziranga in 2007

    There has been a sharp increase in the number of rhinos poached in the Kaziranga National Park in Assam, with as many as 18 of them being killed in the sanctuary in 2007.

  • More guards at Kaziranga

    Additional guards have been deployed to protect the one-horned rhinos at the Kaziranga National Park in Assam where poachers have killed 23 of the animals for their horns since last year.

  • Forest cover, poaching haunt Asom

    Not just the famed one-horned rhino, but the dense forests sheltering it are also in danger in Asom, as poaching and deforestation continues unabated.

  • Wildlife under threat

    Besides poaching, loss of habitat, toxins cause deaths It is not just India's national animal tiger which is in danger at the hands of poachers in the country. Officials figures suggest that the future of other animals in the wild - elephants, rhinos and critically-endangered gharials - is also not so safe despite efforts being put in by the Centre and state governments. Between December 2007 and February 2008, as many as 105 gharials have been reported dead. However, the reason for the decline in their numbers is attributed to possibility of nephro-toxin entering the food chain and loss of habitat due to illegal sand mining. Official records reveal that in the past three years, the number of poaching cases related to elephants has been steadily rising. During 2004-05, 18 elephants were poached, during 2005-06, the number of dead tuskers was 16 and in 2006-07, it increased up to 23. The 2007 Census said there are 18,663 elephants in the country, minus the Northeastern states. Similar has been the case with rhinos. As per the information released by the Assam Government, 18 rhinos were poached in 2007 and four rhinos have already fallen prey to the poachers' greed till date in 2008 in the Kaziranga National Park and adjacent areas in Assam. Regarding the critically endangered gharials, the MoEF said that as per the last Census in 2007, the number of gharials in National Chambal Sanctuary is 1457, Son Gharial Sanctuary 106, Ken Gharial Sanctuary 12 and Katerniaghat Sanctuary 70 to 80. About 105 gharials have been reported dead between December 2007 and February 2008. While no particular reason can be attributed to their mortality, the possibility of nephro-toxin entering via the food-chain cannot be ruled out, officials say, adding that another reason has been the loss of habitat due to illegal sand mining. The Central Government has taken several initiatives, including constitution of multidisciplinary Tiger and Other Endangered Species Crime Control Bureau (Wildlife Crime Control Bureau) comprising officers from the police, forest, customs and other enforcement agencies to effectively control illegal trade in wildlife. The government is also providing financial and technical assistance to state governments under the various Centrally sponsored schemes - Development of National Parks and Sanctuaries, Project Tiger and Project Elephant. State governments too claim to be taking measures, including increase in patrolling and coordination with other law enforcing agencies, which clearly are not enough. And it is not just poaching that wild animals are at risk with. As per information available, four tigers and 21 elephants were killed due to train and road accidents during the past three years in the 514 wildlife sanctuaries in the country.

  • Manas ready to welcome rhinos from KNP

    The picturesque Manas National Park, is going to add another feather to its cap through translocation of rhinos from Kaziranga National Park within three weeks from now. Almost all the preparations required for this purpose are ready and the much-awaited translocation of the animals will be welcomed by the Manas family soon. Talking to a visiting group of reporters in the Bhuyapara Range Office of the Park yesterday Susie Collis, the co-executive director of International Rhino Foundation who led a team to study the facilities for the translocation told that everything is ready and the rhinos would be brought to Manas within three weeks. The IRF team comprises of Rand of Peiches, Kristi Gerord, Frederieke Howard, Oliver Pagan and Turg Vuller. All of them expressed satisfaction at the ongoing reconstruction work going on throughout Manas. Giving details of the translocation Aninda Swargiary, the field director of the Park told that it is a process undertaken under Indian Rhino Vision (IRV) 2020 which targets at least 3000 rhino population in India by the stipulated time which is 2020. IRV is funded by several international agencies like US Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS), Inter National Rhino Foundation (IRF) and World Wide Fund (WWF) and in Assam it is mainly executed by the Ministry of Forests and Environment and the Wildlife Development Welfare Trust. Swargiary also informed that though the rhinos were scheduled to be translocated a year back, this had to be postponed owing to several technical and infrastructural problems and finally February 12 was fixed for this purpose. But due to unavailability of Immobilon, the drug necessary for tranquillisation of the animal, it could not be executed. But the clue about the availability of the drug was found of late and it is expected that much awaited dream of the people of Assam would be fulfilled within three weeks. Giving an account of the preparation to welcome the new rhinos, Swargiary told newsmen that as many as thirteen camps have been set up all along the park in addition to existing park camps. Fund for the construction has been received from WWF and the BTAD. Wildlife Development and Welfare Trust has given 80 bicycles, 4 motorbikes, 6 boats, 4 rubber boats and 50 wireless sets for strict vigilance. The flow of funds from concerned agencies will be expedited if work is done on time.

  • People's help sought to save rhinos

    Alarmed by the killing of at least 22 rhinos last year and four this year by poachers, the Assam Forest Department has decided to seek people's help to save the pachyderm. Owners of restaurants, resorts, dhabas, tea garden authorities and villagers have been roped in to save the endangered one-horned rhino at the Kaziranga National Park. The Forest department held a series of meetings with restaurant and resort owners near the National Park, a World Heritage site. They were also told that it was their fundamental duty under Article 51A of the Constitution to protect wildlife, a forest official said. "The department feels that the owners should be aware of the identity of the customers because there is a possibility of poachers planning their activities in such places,' Chief Conservator of Forest Bishen Singh Bonal said. Bonal, who was deputed to the park for making an on-the-spot assessment, said: "The forest department alone cannot fully protect the animals... there should be a joint effort from all concerned to save the animals.' There are nearly 90 dhabas, restaurants and resorts on the 40-km stretch from Bokakhat to Burapahar along the national highway running adjacent to the park. A series of meetings were held early this month with neighbouring tea garden authorities for ensuring their cooperation, the forest official said. "In most occasions it is seen that the animals are targeted when they venture out of the park into tea garden areas where there is no security and hence the need to educate the garden authorities,' he said. On animals crossing the national highway and entering the neighbouring hill district of Karbi Anglong where they fell prey to poachers, Bonal said his department would highlight the need to declare the nearly 70 sq km stretch in the district a protected area. The department had also stressed setting up police outposts in Rongbong and Dholerwaran areas which would help in countering poachers, most of whom entered the park area through the Karbi Anglong corridor, he said. Bonal said apart from these steps, talks were also held with villagers and headmen to socially boycott any person having links with poaching and poachers. "We have received overwhelming support with the people agreeing in one voice to socially ostracise anybody involved in poaching,' he said. The Forest Department decided to adopt the pro-active measures after drawing flak from various quarters for large- scale poaching of the one-horned rhinos in the national park.

  • Poachers arrested at Nagaon

    I n two separate raids against Rhino poachers conducted jointly by Forest officials and police personnel recently total 14 Rhino poachers including four Rhino horn, elephant smuggler and poachers were arrested.

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