Kaziranga rhino
Representative image.

Ahead of the monsoon season, the officials of the Kaziranga National Park(KNP)are gearing up to take extra measures to ensure that not a single wildlife is harmed during the flood season even as the world heritage site is going to close for tourists for this  season on May 1.

While flooding of the national park is essential for the ecology of the park, poachers also take advantage of the situation to kill the wild animals in and around the protected area, particularly the one-horned rhinos.

“We are going to close down the park for tourists from May 1. The flood season starts from mid June and we need some time to repair the highlands and other areas inside the park where the animals take shelter during the floods,” a senior official told Northeast Now.

The park officials are, however, much relieved now as the incidents of poaching of one-horned rhinos have drastically gone down in recent years and there are significant improvement in the fight against poachers across the state.

The park, a UNESCO world heritage site, is home to 2413 one-horned rhinos and other wildlife including Royal Bengal tigers, Elephants, Eastern Swamp Deer and Wild Water Buffalo.

The park officials said that the number of poaching of rhinos have drastically reduced to only 2 this year from 32 in 2014.

“The forest officials particularly our frontline staffs are working very hard to protect the wildlife here. The government had also taken several steps in this regard which includes modernization of forest protection force and setting up fast track courts for trial of wildlife crimes,” a senior Forest department official said.

Over 100 poachers were arrested in 2017 and 59 poachers last year in the national and several arms and ammunition were recovered from their possession.

The officials are also being trained by experts to write strong case diaries so that the arrested poachers cannot escape taking advantage of the loopholes in the system.

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