The Indian Air Force has agreed to an Assam request to provide a chopper to airlift a rhino which strayed from the flooded Pabitora Wildlfe sanctuary to a sandbar on the Brahmaputra, near Sualkuchi in Kamrup district. In fact, an IAF chopper carried out a recce on Monday.

“However, we have not taken a final decision on airlifting the rhino. We don’t want to take any risk and the final decision will be taken only on the advice of experts. Only if veterinary doctors say it would be safe to carry out an aerial operation we will go for it,” Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Suresh Chand told The Hindu.

Experts are exploring the pros and cons of tranquillising the rhino on the sandbar. They have not yet decided where it should be relocated.

Mr. Chand said the rhino was safe, fully protected. It was being monitored and provided fodder by forest staff, as no suitable grass is available on the sandbar.

Protests over rhino deaths continue

Meanwhile, protests over the killing of a rhino of the Kaziranga National Park continued with workers and supporters of the Asom Gana Parishad, led by the former Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, taking out a rally from Kaliabor to Kohora in the national park, demanding exemplary punishment to the poachers. Effigies of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and Environment and Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain were burnt to protest their alleged failure to protect rhinos from poachers.

The AGP also demanded that undocumented migrants living in Kaziranga be expelled.

In the city, 40 NGOs staged a sit-in demonstration over unabated poaching of rhinos in Kaziranga. They sent a memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking immediate action for the protection of rhinos.