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Assam wildlife group protests removal of rhino's horn

Assam,Environment/Wildlife, Sun, 25 Mar 2012 IANS

Guwahati, March 25 (IANS) An Assam-based wildlife conservation group has questioned the legality behind the Assam forest department's recent move of 'dehorning' a one-horned rhino.


"Nature's Beckon", a leading wildlife conservation group of Assam Sunday not only questioned the legalities of 'dehorning' the rhino but also demanded an inquiry into the whole incident that led to death of the adult rhino.


"How can the forest department take a decision to 'dehorn' the rhino? It is not justified in our view to remove the horn only because of the reason that the rhino has a threat to its life because of its horn. Besides, the dehorning of rhinos indicated that the forest department has given in to the poachers," said Somyadeep Dutta, secretary of the NGO.


"Some African countries had tried to secure the lives of rhinos by adopting the dehorning method long ago. However, it was aborted later as horns are found to be having immense biological significance for the animal. Similarly, there is no logic behind dehorning the rhino," Dutta said.


The state forest department, however, justified the move and said that they had no other alternative but to remove the horn of the rhino due to threats from poachers and miscreants.


"The condition of the rhino was vulnerable when we saw it on Thursday. There were severe wounds on its body. We decided to remove the horn to secure its life," said a senior official of the Kaziranga National Park on condition of anonymity.


The rhino had strayed out from Agaratoli range of Kaziranga National Park and was moving through Sonitpur district Thursday. Some miscreants attacked it with spears and seriously injured it. Members of an NGO spotted the five-year-old injured rhino and informed the forest department.


Veterinarians, accompanied by State forest department officials tranquilized the rhino and removed two spears from its body. They also removed its horn - about 6 inches in size - for its safety.


The rhino, however, died on Sunday.


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