GUWAHATI: In a successful operation against surging cases of wildlife smuggling, security personnel in the vicinity of Manas National Park apprehended poachers and seized a trove of prohibited wildlife items, including a coveted rhino horn, on the intervening night of Thursday.
This strategic crackdown, following a precise tip-off, led to the haul of illicit items that included antlers, tusks, and other animal bones, which fetch high prices in the illegal wildlife markets.
Last month, a collaborative effort between Chirang district’s Forest Department and the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) had resulted in the apprehension of three poachers near the India-Bhutan frontier. Among the retrieved items were rhino body parts and weaponry. The culprits allegedly admitted to targeting two rhinos within the park’s confines.
The recovery has sparked calls for a comprehensive inquiry into the increasing incidents of poaching within the park, as well as an investigation into its former Field Director, Vaibhav C Mathur.
Interestingly, sources opine that this recent surge in poaching incidents in Manas led to the punitive transfer of the Field Director Vaibhav C Mathur’s earlier in August to be replaced by Rajen Choudhury as the park’s new Field Director.
Sources indicate that a major reason for Mathur’s transfer is the spike in poaching cases and the notable absence of carcasses in the area. There are murmurs suggesting that these carcasses could have been discreetly burned, buried, or cast into the river. Given the gravity of the situation, there are calls for a rigorous investigation, and the government is being urged to request clarifications from the former director concerning these troubling occurrences.
Renowned for sheltering rare and endangered species, including the Assam roofed turtle, hispid hare, golden langur, and pygmy hog, Manas National Park stands at a pivotal crossroad, compelling intensified measures to conserve its ecological jewels.