Assam forest dept employee held for smuggling rhino horns

A case of poachers using tranquilisers to remove a rhino horn has come to light at Assam’s Orang National Park.

Park officials on Thursday said during patrolling on Monday park personnel found the dehorned sub-adult male rhino, aged around 8-10 years in Muwamari area.

The rhino was tranquilized before the horn was removed from it by the poachers, they said.

“Only in rare cases do rhinos lose their horns during fights with other rhinos. But in order to be sure, we summoned a team of experts, including veterinary doctors from the state zoo in Guwahati, who visited the park on May 10,” Pradipta Baruah, divisional forest officer, Mangaldai wildlife division, said.

Officials discovered that the horn had been hacked with a sharp weapon by an expert hand after the rhino was tranquilised. And there were no bullet injuries found on the rhino.

“This is the first instance of poaching of a rhino horn using tranquilizer guns in Orang. Earlier, one-two such instances were recorded in Kaziranga National Park. But this is the first time we have found that the horn has been removed in such a manner that the animal continues to be alive and healthy,” Baruah, who is also the field director of Orang Tiger Reserve, said.

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