Other States

Centre to set up rhino protection force in Assam

Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar on Saturday said that a Special Rhino Protection Force would be raised by recruiting local youth to bring down the number of incidents of rhino poaching in Kaziranga National Park and other rhino-bearing areas in the State to zero.

“There will be zero tolerance towards rhino poaching and our efforts would be to bring down the number of rhino poaching incidents to zero,” he said.

Addressing a press conference in Guwahati, Mr. Javadekar said that the Ministry would request the Central Bureau of Investigation to expand the scope of ongoing probe into rhino poaching in Kaziranga National Park by including some more cases and also fast track it.

Poachers have killed 22 rhinos since the beginning of 2014.

He, however, noted that increase in rhino population in the national park has resulted in shortage of required per-capita space for rhinos and assured that the problem would be addressed. He said that a comprehensive plan would be undertaken to ensure free movement of park animals through the six animal corridors across the National Highway 37 passing through the world heritage site.

Describing his two-day maiden visit to the national park as “Mission Kaziranga”, Mr. Javadekar announced that a health insurance scheme would be launched for the forest guards of the national park.

Mr. Javadekar urged the State Government to take steps for removal of encroachment in park areas. He noted that stepped up operation led to the killing of 20 poachers and arrest of 24 poachers in the State in 2014 and expected that the State Government would be more active to curb poaching.

“People of Assam have special love for rhinos and they are committed to protection of rhinos,” he said, adding “Friends of Rhinos” to be formed with such committed and dedicated people to strengthen the movement for rhino protection in the State.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 4:04:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/centre-to-set-up-rhino-protection-force-in-assam/article6386231.ece

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