A gang of poachers on 26 March 2014 killed a rhino in Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary near Tuplung forest camp in Morigaon district of Assam. After shooting down the rhino, they sawed off its horn and took it away.
In the incident of killing the rhino for taking away its horn, two poachers of the gang were also killed in an encounter with forest guards. This sanctuary of Assam has a dense population of the Great Indian one-horned rhinoceros that numbers about 93 in the 16 square kilometer area of the wildlife reserve.
This poaching activity was the first in Pabitora in 2014, but the poachers have already killed 11 rhinos in Kaziranga National Park and one in Manas National Park, since the start of the year. In 2013 over 40 rhinos were killed in Assam by the poachers of which 35 were killed in Kaziranga.
Steps taken to protect the Rhinos that have been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
The WWF and India has collaborated together, to start a joint programme named Indian Rhino Vision (IRV) 2020. The plan was made in January 2014 with an aim of increasing the population of rhinos in Assam to 3000 by 2020. Under the programme, the horns of rhinos will be trimmed before translocating them to Laokhowa-Burachapori Wildlife Sanctuary in Nagaon district of the state.
As a follow-up plan of the programme, the state government of Assam on 20 March 2014 made a proposal to the people of the state seeking their opinion on the plan of trimming down the horns of rhinos. This plan has been made to protect the rhinos from the poachers as they are hunted and killed for horn. The final decision of trimming them will be taken by a committee comprised of forest officials, WWF representatives and veterinarians, but the state government will be the final body to give a go-ahead signal to the programme, depending upon the feedback of the committee.
Under the process, the horns of rhinos will be trimmed off but will not include the process of dehorning them completely. Further the horn will grow back again to their original size and shape in four to five months. The trimming will be done in a way that any damage is not done to their internal organs.
Who: gang of poachers
What: killed a Rhinocerous
When: 26 March 2014
Why: for its horn