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India’s Assam State Endeavors to Halt Rhino Poaching

Kaziranga National Park is home to the world's largest population of the rare rhinos, with more than 2,000 of the species

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Rhinoceros Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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.

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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.

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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)

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  • AJ Krish

    Protection of wildlife especially the endangered once must be put on top of everything.People who engage in poaching must be punished severley as only then can we eradicate it.

  • Paras Vashisth

    It sounds very good and I wait for the day when all the state government bring such type of actions for prevent the animal species.

  • devika todi

    Kaziranga is indeed a conservation success story. the statistics are a proof of that.
    poaching of endangered animals should be stopped immediately. before we know it, our ecosystem will suffer yet again, because of careless and unmonitored actions of the humans.

  • AJ Krish

    Protection of wildlife especially the endangered once must be put on top of everything.People who engage in poaching must be punished severley as only then can we eradicate it.

  • Paras Vashisth

    It sounds very good and I wait for the day when all the state government bring such type of actions for prevent the animal species.

  • devika todi

    Kaziranga is indeed a conservation success story. the statistics are a proof of that.
    poaching of endangered animals should be stopped immediately. before we know it, our ecosystem will suffer yet again, because of careless and unmonitored actions of the humans.

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Kaziranga National Park to Open for Tourists from October

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One-horned-Rhinoceros
Kaziranga National Park is popular one-horned species of Rhinoceros in India. flickr

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)

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Cheetahs in Malawi: Poaching and Wildlife Trafficking endangers Africa’s most Iconic Species

A total of four cheetahs – two males and two females – were airlifted to Liwonde National Park in Malawi from South Africa in May

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Cheetahs back from the brink in Malawi
The cheetahs spent their first three weeks in an enclosure before being released into Liwonde National Park in Malawi. VOA
  • Liwonde National Park in southern Malawi has just welcomed some new inhabitants – four cheetahs
  • Liwonde National Park has a population of 12,000 large mammals including bush buck, water buffalo, and antelope
  • Park officials say they also plan to reintroduce leopards and lions to restore the park’s lost glory

LIWONDE NATIONAL PARK, MALAWI, June 10, 2017: Poaching and wildlife trafficking have endangered some of Africa’s most iconic species and the loss of the animals has cost African countries critical tourism revenue.

But at least one national park is getting a second chance. Liwonde National Park in southern Malawi has just welcomed some new inhabitants – four cheetahs relocated there from South Africa courtesy of the nonprofit African Parks group.

Park rangers lured the first cheetah out into its new home with a fresh carcass. It’s the first cheetah Malawi has had in the wild in two decades.

The cheetah is the fastest land animal in the world, but even that couldn’t protect the species in Malawi. Poachers killed off the cheetahs’ prey and ultimately the cheetahs themselves.

“They were last seen in Malawi about 20 years ago,” said Craig Reid of the Liwonde National Park. “Specifically in Liwonde area, they have been absent for over a 100 years. So, as part of the rehabilitation of the park, we feel it is very important to bring back the cheetah to Malawi and Liwonde specifically.”

A total of four cheetahs – two males and two females – were airlifted to Liwonde from South Africa in May.

Before being released into the park, the cheetahs spent their first three weeks in an enclosure to allow them to become acclimated to their new surroundings.

Liwonde National Park has a population of 12,000 large mammals. These include bush buck, water buffalo and antelope.

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The cheetah is the first large predator to be reintroduced to the park.

“We have a very healthy animal base and now that the protection measures are in place as we have got a very good law enforcement in the park,” Reid said. “The numbers of animals are increasing very rapidly and, as a result to that, there are more than enough animals to provide for some carnivorous animals such as the cheetah”.

Officials are holding meetings with communities surrounding the park.

“Those people are likely to face danger,” said David Nongoma of African Parks. “And our message to the community is to say that…they refrain from entering the park and stop doing what they used to be doing because these animals are definitely very dangerous. They can kill a human being.”

Park officials say they also plan to reintroduce leopards and lions to restore the park’s lost glory. (VOA)

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Timber Stealing from Ancient Trees has become Poacher’s New Target: UNEP

These ecosystems have been vanishing across the territory. Forest investigators have reported cases of more than 100 trees stolen at once.

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A cedar tree, Pixabay
  • The 200 feet cedar tall tree disappeared, cut off at its colossal base and stolen
  • Forest investigators have reported cases of more than 100 trees stolen at once
  • One gigantic old cedar can bring close to $20,000

June 06, 2017: Trees are not immortal; they do live a definite life. The 800-year-old cedar in the Carmanah Valley in Canada was near the end of its life. Colin Hepburn, a local hiker noticed during a backwoods stroll in May 2012, the remains of the cedar tree. The 200 feet tall tree disappeared, cut off at its colossal base, an entire ecosystem of birds, small mammals, and insects stolen with it.

Elephant poaching and timber theft were the focal points at the conference held by Interpol and United Nations Environment Program for more than a couple of years now, as mentioned in a report by Newser.com.

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The park is firmly rooted, filled with centuries-old Sitka spruce and cedar that enforce a lofty eternalness. These trees are an essential part of the forest ecosystem: moss and lichen grow on them, mushrooms sprout from the damp bark at their base. Their branches are an abode to endangered birds like the tiny grey and white marbled murrelet. However, these ecosystems have been vanishing across the territory. Forest investigators have reported cases of more than 100 trees stolen at once.

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According to a report published by UNEP and Interpol, Global timber theft has grown into a “rapidly escalating environmental crime wave”, estimating it 15 to 30 per cent of the global timber trade conducted through the black market.

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Two major factors have made timber so tempting in recent years. First, the payoff is huge. One gigantic old cedar can bring close to $20,000. Secondly, stealing trees is low-risk. In a globalized economy, timber is remarkably easy for thieves to get their hands on, says Cameron Kamiya, Canada’s only full-time forest crime investigator.

prepared by Naina Mishra of Newsgram, Twitter: Nainamishr94