CBI has taken up the probe into the killing of rhinos in Assam following unabated rise in such incidents even as the state government turns to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in a bid to tackle illegal poaching of these animals.

Environment and Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain told reporters on Sunday that the Union Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions has sent a communication regarding the CBI probe to the Assam government yesterday.

However, details of the number of cases taken up by CBI and the time-frame for the investigation was yet to be known.

“We are awaiting further details. But we welcome the Centre’s initiative,” Mr. Hussain said.

“We had suggested that CBI take up all cases up to three to five years old. However, as per their (CBI) proforma they take up investigation based on cases and FIRs filed,” he said.

Kaziranga National Park (KNP) has witnessed an upsurge in poaching pf rhinos since last year. Last year, 25 rhinos were killed in KNP, while 20 have been poached so far this year.

In Manas, two rhinos were poached this year and one was killed last year at Orang.

For better surveillance of KNP, Hussain said the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) of the Union Environment and Forests Ministry will undertake test flights of UAVs over the sanctuary from tomorrow.

The flights would be conducted till April 11, he said.

Besides NTAC, officials from Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and the state government would also monitor the drone flights, he said.