Poaching continues as Assam rhino count rises

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Guwahati, Jul 18: The total one-horned rhino population in Assam has risen to 1,855 as per the 2006 census even as 35 rhinos were poached since 2006 to March 31 this year, state Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain informed the Assembly.

In reply to separate questions, the minister informed that the rhino count had risen from 1,551 in 1999 to 1,855 in 2006, with rhinos being housed in four parks - the Kaziranga National Park, Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park, Manas National Park and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary.

While nine rhinos were killed by poachers in 2006, the figure shot up to 21 in 2007 and five have been killed till March this year.

Against this, 32 poachers were arrested in 2005, 25 in 2006, 27 in 2007 and 33 in January this year.

The minister, however, failed to inform how many of the arrested poachers were imprisoned.

The rhino horn, for which it is killed as superstitions attach to it medicinal and ornamental value, is sold mostly in Hong Kong, China, Nepal, Thailand, Taiwan and South Korea, Mr Hussain informed.

UNI

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