Rhino horns missing from treasury, Forest minister orders probe

A day before she embarks on her maiden visit to Kaziranga National Park, Forest minister Pramila Rani Brahma today said an investigation will be ordered into reports that some rhino horns kept at the government treasuries have gone missing.

“I have received allegations that some horns – those of rhinos which died naturally – kept at the treasuries have gone missing. We will definitely probe the matter. If anyone is found guilty, he or she will be given stringent punishment,” she told reporters.

Brahma will begin a two-day visit to Kaziranga tomorrow.

Besides top forest officials, Brahma will be accompanied by Bokakhat MLA and minister Atul Bora and Kaliabor MLA and minister Keshab Mahanta.

“I will visit the routes through which the poachers reportedly enter the park and we will try to chalk out a strategy to plug these,” she said.

The Forest minister will also interact with local villagers in the vicinity of the park and try to understand why they have not been cooperating in checking the activities of poachers.

“I will also try to know what discussions the previous governments held with them,” she said.

On the alleged encroachment in the park, Brahma said that she has been told by park authorities that there is no encroachment within the park area. Some additions are, however, yet to be handed over to the park, she added.

Around 193 rhinos were poached in Assam over the past 13 years. Of these, 126 rhinos were killed in Kaziranga National Park alone.

In all, 873 rhinos, 63 tigers and 254 elephants died of natural causes at Kaziranga during this period.

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