Killing of rhinos continues, CBI starts investigation

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Guwahati, Sept 29: One more rhinoceros was found dead today in the flood waters at Kaziranga National Park, which has seen a sudden rise in poaching activities in past few days.

While a total of six rhinos have died in past four days in poaching and flood-related incidents, the toll ever since the third wave of floods began on Sept 21 has gone up to 10.

Body of the mature female rhino with its horn intact was found floating in the flood waters at Gorakati under Bagori Range of the park today, Deka said, adding that the animal drowned in flood waters and was not a victim of poaching.

The horn from the body of the rhino was handed over to the forest department, he said.

The carcass of the pachyderm was recovered during routine patrolling in the park, which has most of its 430 sq km area under flood waters.

Between Sept 26 and 28, five rhinos were killed by poachers while during the current year, 18 have been so far been killed and their horns taken away.

Meanwhile, a three-member central investigation team has arrived here today to probe into the sudden spurt in poaching of rhinos in Kaziranga, a World Heritage Site.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi is confident that the CBI inquiry recommended by his government into rhino killings will help in nabbing the culprits.

The killing of the rhinos has sparked off protests by the All Assam Students' Union (AASU), Assam Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) and Krishak Mukti Sangram Parishad (KMSS) which blocked the National Highway 37 running through the Park.

ULFA's Paresh Barua led anti-talk faction has also condemned the killing of rhinos and accused the government of failing to save Assam's heritage.

Prominent conservation group Aaranyak has alleged that failure of the intelligence network, lack of coordination between the forest department and neighbouring Karbi Anglong Autonomous District Council's forest department and commitment on the part of concerned officials were primarily responsible for the prevailing situation.

PTI

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