Amid lockdown, hunters eye rhino horns
Officials thwart six poaching attempts in a week around Assam’s national parks
- The COVID-19 lockdown has activated poachers who had been forced into lying low for more than a year. At least six thwarted attempts have been made within a week in and around Assam’s national parks.
- The poachers trying to strike while the demand for animal body parts, specifically the rhino horn, remains low due to the impact of the pandemic on the grey market and make a killing later when it rebounds.
- And the lockdown has inadvertently made it easier for the poachers by thinning the ranks of the network of local people who had hitherto been a critical part of the anti-poaching campaign by tipping off forest officials on any suspicious movements near the parks.
- On April 11, a member of the Special Rhino Protect Force received bullet injuries during an encounter with a group of poachers in the Biswanath division of the Kaziranga National Park (KNP).