82-member rhino protection force deployed in Kaziranga

June 30, 2019 09:55 pm | Updated 09:55 pm IST

A great one horn Rhino crosses a road inside the Kaziranga National Park.

A great one horn Rhino crosses a road inside the Kaziranga National Park.

An 82-member special protection force trained to combat poachers and understand animal behaviour was deployed in the Kaziranga National Park (KNP) on Sunday.

Among the 82 personnel of the Special Rhino Protection Force (SRPF) are eight women.

“The SRPF is basically a tiger protection force named after the rhino since the threat of poaching is more for the one-horned herbivore. Their job profile includes protecting the striped cat since Kaziranga is also a tiger reserve,” KNP Director P. Sivakumar said.

The Assam government would be paying the salaries of the SRPF members and the amount would be reimbursed by the National Tiger Conservation Authority, which recommended setting up of the special force.

The process of setting up the special force was started in 2015. The recruits were given the appointment letter in July 2018 after which they were trained at the Forest Guard School in eastern Assam’s Makum. The recruits also underwent weapons training at the 9th Assam Police Battalion in Nagaon district.

The 430 sq.km. KNP encompasses eight ranges under two wildlife divisions — Eastern Assam and Biswanath — straddling the river Brahmaputra. Of the 82 SRPF personnel, 60 have been assigned ranges under the Eastern Assam Wildlife Division on the southern bank of the river.

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