Poachers kill rare rhinos in India as drones halted

August 22, 2013
Indian forest officials stand near the body of a Rhinoceros, which was killed and de-horned by poachers at Burapahar in Kaziranga National Park, some 250kms east of Guwahati on August 21, 2013. An armed gang has killed two rare rhinos at a wildlife park in northeast India, as officials said drones deployed to stem the rising number of killings have been halted.

An armed gang has killed two rare rhinoceros at a wildlife park in northeast India, as officials said Thursday drones deployed to stem the rising number of killings have been halted.

Poachers used assault rifles to shoot dead the rhinoceros before gouging out their horns at the park in Assam state on Wednesday, taking the total number slaughtered there this year to 27, officials said.

"Poachers used AK 47 to shot dead the rhinos. We have recovered empty cartridges from the site of the incident," a park ranger said, requesting not to be named.

Assam forest minister Rockybul Hussain said the killings at Kaziranga National Park, a , were carried out by "militants", while declining to name the outfit thought responsible.

Hussain also said the state has been forced to halt drone flights over the reserve aimed at safeguarding the one-horned rhinoceros, the first time the country had used aerial technology to protect wildlife.

He said the federal defence ministry has ordered an end to the use of the (UAV) for security reasons, a blow in the campaign to protect the rhinos.

"For security reasons we have been asked by the to discontinue the UAV. We want the central government to review the decision," the minister told reporters.

He said he would not reveal what the security concerns were.

The government hailed the in April this year as a new weapon in the fight against , allowing patrols of previously unreachable areas, from the sky, and giving rangers a safe view of illegal activities on the ground.

The 430-square-kilometre (166 square-mile) park in Assam is home to the largest concentration of the world's remaining one-horned rhinoceros.

Kaziranga has fought a sustained battle against poachers who kill the animals for their horns, which fetch huge prices in some Asian countries where they are prized for their supposed aphrodisiac and medicinal qualities.

Forest department records show 27 have been killed in the park this year, up from 21 last year, prompting the Assam government to hand over investigations to India's Central Bureau of Investigation, the equivalent of the FBI in the United Sates.

"The CBI investigations are on and hopefully they are able to finish their probe soon," the minister said.

A 2012 census in the park put the number of one-horned at 2,290 out of a global population of 3,300.

The species fell to near extinction in the early 1990s and is currently listed as "vulnerable" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Explore further: India floods kill threatened rhinos

Related Stories

India floods kill threatened rhinos

July 9, 2012

Devastating floods in northeast India have killed around 600 animals in the region's largest wildlife park, including more than a dozen threatened one-horned rhinos, officials said Monday.

Two rare Indian rhinos die after poaching attack

September 30, 2012

Two rare rhinos brutally attacked by poachers this week in northeast India have died, veterinarians said on Saturday, triggering protests at local authorities' failure to protect the animals.

Poachers kill 13 rare rhinos in India

March 1, 2013

Poachers in northeast India have slaughtered 13 endangered one-horned rhinos in the last two months, officials said on Friday as another death added to worries about a recent surge in killings.

Poachers kill rare rhinos in India's northeast

March 24, 2013

A gang of poachers killed a rare one-horned rhino at a wildlife park in northeast India, taking to 15 the number of such beasts slaughtered this year, an official said on Sunday.

India uses drones to fight rhino poaching

April 8, 2013

India said Monday it is deploying drones over a reserve to safeguard the rare one-horned rhino from poachers, the first time the country has employed aerial technology to protect wildlife.

Recommended for you

Scientists overcome key CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing hurdle

December 1, 2015

Researchers at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT have engineered changes to the revolutionary CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing system that significantly cut down on "off-target" ...

Study finds 'rudimentary' empathy in macaques

December 1, 2015

(Phys.org)—A pair of researchers with Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and Université Lyon, in France has conducted a study that has shown that macaques have at least some degree of empathy towards their fellow ...

Which came first—the sponge or the comb jelly?

December 1, 2015

Bristol study reaffirms classical view of early animal evolution. Whether sponges or comb jellies (also known as sea gooseberries) represent the oldest extant animal phylum is of crucial importance to our understanding of ...

Trap-jaw ants exhibit previously unseen jumping behavior

December 1, 2015

A species of trap-jaw ant has been found to exhibit a previously unseen jumping behavior, using its legs rather than its powerful jaws. The discovery makes this species, Odontomachus rixosus, the only species of ant that ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.