GUWAHATI: The discovery of a rhino’s carcass on August 19, in the Bhuyanpara Range near Rupohi camp, has roused fresh concerns over the safety of wildlife in Assam’s Manas National Park. While the horn of the deceased rhino was found intact at the site, the cause of its death remains a mystery, with speculation running rife.
Upon being alerted about the carcass, Dr Vaibhav C Mathur, Field Director of the Park, arrived at the scene on Saturday and ensured swift action by the authorities to recover the remains. Forest officials, in a bid to determine the cause of the creature’s death, are exploring various theories from poaching and natural death to confrontations with other animals.
This incident marks the third such discovery in the national park within two months. A similar fate befell another one-horned rhino on August 2 in the Bansbari zone of the park. Officials speculate that a clash with an adult bull rhino might have led to its demise. Alarmingly, another one-horned rhino carcass was found last month, its horn conspicuously missing, pointing to potential poaching.
In a significant breakthrough earlier this month on August 13, a joint operation between the Chirang district’s Forest Department and the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) resulted in the arrest of three poachers near the India-Bhutan border. The officials had recovered an array of rhino body parts, arms, and ammunition from the accused’s posession. Notably, local reports suggest the detainees confessed to poaching two rhinos within Manas National Park.
This operation resulted in bullet injuries to the apprehended poachers. They are currently receiving medical treatment at Barpeta Medical College.
On July 31, the discovery of another rhino’s carcass in the Kahitama Beat of the Bhabari range had sparked intense debate on wildlife safety in the park. Authorities lean towards inter-animal conflicts as the cause of death, while locals suspect sinister undertones, pointing fingers at poaching.
Manas National Park, globally celebrated for its rare and endangered species such as the Assam roofed turtle, hispid hare, golden langur, and pygmy hog, now stands at a critical juncture, necessitating rigorous efforts to safeguard its ecological treasures.