Distress call

Published: Thursday 15 February 1996

THE one-horned rhinos of Kaziranga National Park, Assam, may yet get a fresh lease of life. Park officials, dismayed by poaching incidents, have demanded an additional 400 sq km area to the park to prevent poaching. In 1995 alone, the poachers had killed 25 rhinos.

Every year during the floods in the Brahmaputra river, rhinos and deer stray while migrating from one area of the park to another and face the poachers avarice. The director of the park, S K Sen, said, "We want to shift the boundary of the park from the southern to the northern bank of the Brahmaputra, as it will bring all existing river islands inside the park." The park needs more highlands to keep the animals inside.

The park officials are reinforcing intelligence, communication and road networks. Speedboats are required to patrol the river to catch the poachers who slip through in the guise of fisherfolk. The existing 130 camps inside the park are not enough to combat the poachers, Besides, the geography of the park makes it very difficult for the officials to trace the poachers once they creep in.

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