A crackdown against poachers is under way by a joint team of Assam Police, India Reserve Battalion and forest guards in Burpahar range of the Kaziranga National Park.

Armed with sophisticated weapons, the security forces launched the operation on Sunday at Kukurakota area of the range, Forest Department sources said.

A battalion each from the India Reserve Battalion and State police, along with 100 Forest Department personnel, including guards, have fanned out in the interior areas of the rhino habitat to net poachers.

Security measures have also been tightened inside and along the park’s boundary to prevent entry and attacks by poachers in the 430 sq km World Heritage Site situated in Golaghat district of upper Assam, sources said.

The crackdown was launched in the wake of poaching of eight rhinos in park since January this year. Rhino horn is prized for its aphrodisiac properties.

The State has decided to divide the park into four divisions under separate Divisional Forest Officers to strengthen the management system and boost operational efficiency. Shoot-at-sight orders could be considered to prevent poaching of rhinos and other wild animals, State Minister for Environment and Forest Rockybul Hussain has said. — PTI