Guwahati: Assam Minister Atuwa Munda on Sunday opened the Kaziranga National Park for tourists for the 2015-16 season and lauded officials’ efforts to keep a tab on rhino poaching in and around the park.
At a function at the Mihimukh forest range of the park, the environment and forest minister thanked forest officials and guards for coordinated efforts to conserve wildlife.
The park, declared a world heritage site by Unesco, is home to some 2,400 one-horned rhinos. It is also known for its elephants, swamp deers, Asiatic wild buffaloes and tigers.
The other ranges of the park at Bagori, Agaratoli and Kahara were simultaneously opened for tourists.
“The domestic and foreign tourists have been waiting for the opening of the park. Many tourists have booked rooms in hotels and resorts near the park in advance,” Kaziranga divisional forest officer SK Seal Sarma told IANS.
“There is a heavy rush today. Domestic and foreign tourists waited in queues to enter the park,” he added.
Seal said that elephant safaris and jeep safaris too have been opened for tourists from Sunday.
Every year the park opens to visitors on November 1 till end of April. It is closed from May 1 due to the monsoon season and floods that frequently occur.
Guwahati, Oct 02: Assam Forest and Environment Minister Pramila Rani Brahma on Monday opened the Kaziranga National Park for the 2017-18 tourist season.
Accompanied by Agriculture Minister Atul Bora, chairman of the Assam Tourism Development Corporation (ATDC) Jayanta Malla Baruah and other dignitaries, Brahma cut the ceremonial red ribbon to officially declare the park open and said that the Forest Department has advanced the tourist season by one month.
Earlier the park used to open for tourists from November 1 until April 30. The new Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led alliance government that came to power in 2016 ordered the park to open from October 1 until May 30.
“The puja vacation is on in schools and parents love to bring their children to Kaziranga. Keeping the vacation season in mind, we have decided to open the park on October 2 this year.
“We have opened only two ranges today, the Bagori and Kohora. Other ranges will open at a later stage,” Brahma said.
Massive floods hit Kaziranga twice this year leading to severe infrastructure damage. It also killed a total of 430 animals including rhinos and a tiger.
Park officials said that only 25 per cent of the Kohora range was ready for jeep and elephant safari as of now.
“We are going to launch only jeep safari in Bagori range today. We expect to begin elephant safari from October 11.”
Kaziranga has the highest number of the one-horned rhinos in the world.
The park covering an area of 430 sq.km is also famous for three giant herbivores: the Asiatic elephants, swamp deers and Asiatic water buffaloes.
A Unesco World heritage Site, Kaziranga has also been demarcated as an Important Bird Area by the Birdlife International to promote the conservation of endangered species.(IANS)
Assam Police recovered animal parts, Rs 2 crore in cash and gold from two residences of a divisional forest officer (DFO) of Assam
He was initially caught red-handed by the anti-corruption officers while accepting a bribe of Rs 30,000 each from three truckers
After being suspended by the State government, Talukdar was produced in a special court on June 14, which has sent him to police remand
GUWAHATI: Assam Police have recovered animal parts including tiger skin, deer skin, ivory, Rs 2 crore in cash and about 1kg of gold jewellery from two residences of a Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of Assam.
According to The Indian Express report, Mahat Chandra Talukdar, who has been posted as the divisional forest officer in northern Assam’s Dhemaji since 2014, was initially caught red-handed by the anti-corruption officers while accepting a bribe of Rs 30,000 each from three truckers, who transport forest produce, at his office on June 13.
“We have arrested him after he was caught while accepting bribe. We raided his house on Monday evening. First, we raided his house in Dhemaji and then in Guwahati. We have seized the amount, his personal vehicles and other documents and bank passbooks. There were allegations against him that he demanded bribe from three suppliers. Investigating the matter, we have caught him red-handed,” said Assam Police PRO Rajib Saikia to Deccan Herald.
In the next 24 hours, he was taken to Guwahati and his two residences in Dhemaji and Guwahati were raided where the police found the cash, gold and parts of wild animals. Also, the police did not rule out the possibility of him being linked to poachers considering the 89 rhinos who were killed by poachers from 1989-1983 in Kaziranga National Park where he was serving at that time. A rhino horn could be priced for Rs 1 crore in the international black market.
Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahma said the arrested DFO could not get away. “He has been placed under suspension. We will go hard on all those who are involved in corrupt practices,” she said.
After being suspended by the State government, Talukdar was produced in a special court on 14 June which has sent him to police remand.
After this case of corruption which was linked to Wildlife, the Gauhati High Court had asked the state government to frame appropriate rules under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, authorizing police to file charge-sheets in cases of wildlife crime.
-prepared by Pashchiema Bhatia, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @pashchiema
GAUHATI, INDIA—The newly elected government of the northeast Indian state of Assam has launched plans to crack down on the poaching of the area’s famed one-horned rhinos.
The state’s Kaziranga National Park is home to the world’s largest population of the rare rhinos, with more than 2,000 of the species. While overall poaching deaths have dropped over the last few years, a series of rhino killings this year has led the new government to renew anti-poaching efforts.
The state’s new environment minister, Pramila Rani Brahma, said Saturday that local police have been asked to join the offensive against poaching. Previously, Kaziranga’s forest rangers and anti-poaching staff handled this responsibility on their own.
Brahma said allegations that some park staff may be involved in the trade in rhino parts were also being investigated.
On Tuesday, as Brahma and other officials visited Kaziranga to discuss the threat of poaching, a female rhino was shot dead by poachers in the vicinity.
In April, poachers killed a rhino at the 480-square-kilometer (185-square-mile) park hours after a visit by Britain’s Prince William and his wife, Kate.
The royal couple had spent several hours at Kaziranga in hopes of drawing attention to the plight of endangered animals, including the park’s one-horned rhinos.
All five of the world’s rhino species are under constant threat from poachers seeking their horns to sell on the black market. Demand is high in countries such as China and Vietnam, where people mistakenly believe consuming rhino horns can increase male potency. It does not.
This year, eight rhinos in Kaziranga have been killed for their horns, after 17 were poached in 2015.
Despite the threats, Kaziranga is a conservation success story. The reserve had 75 rhinos in 1905. In 1966, the number of rhinos in Kaziranga was put at 366. According to a 2015 estimate, the number has risen to 2,401. (Source: VOA)