NEW DELHI, Aug 26 – Alarmed at reports of floods inundating the Kaziranga National Park (KNP) and increasing incidents of poaching of one-horned rhinos, Union Minister of State for Environment and Forest Prakash Javadekar is rushing to the wildlife sanctuary on September 4-5 to make an-on-the-spot assessment.
The Minister said that he was concerned over reports of threats faced by rhinos due to the rising water level of the Brahmaputra river, which he said was not just a river but a ‘mighty’ river.
Javadekar, who was addressing a meeting of the National Tiger Conservation Authority today, said that as part of a fresh initiative undertaken by his Ministry, the National Remote Sensing Agency’s help has been sought for flood forecasting and forest fire reports.
Expressing his concern over the fate of rhinos in he KNP, he said besides floods, animal also faced threats from poachers. “I will be visiting KNP next month to meet all stakeholders,” he said.
“During my visit to the national park I would be meeting local people, NGOs and those working in the field, to get a first-hand report.”
Javadekar said the Government of India is engaged in talks with Bangladesh, China and other neighbouring countries and response is encouraging. The rhino horns and body parts of other endangered animals have ready markets in neighbouring countries.
In a written reply to the Legislative Assembly today, Environment and Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain said that during the period from 2001 to August 3, 2014, a total of 126 rhinos had been killed by poachers in the KNP, followed by 31 in the Orang National Park, 14 in the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, seven in Manas and 15 in other divisions.