Poachers try to kill rhino in Assam zoo

The Asian age , Friday, August 05, 2005
Correspondent : Staff Reporter
Guwahati, August 4: In what may be an indicator of increasing threat to wildlife in Assam, a gang of miscreants attempted to poach a rhino in the Assam State Zoo premises by electrocuting the animal.

Confirming this here on Thursday, Assam State Zoo divisional forest officer Narayan Mahanta said: “We have not experienced anything like this before and the criminals responsible for this would not be spared but, having said that, we admit that the security of the state zoo should be beefed up to avoid any such incident in future.”

He also admitted that this is probably the first time in Assam that poaching was attempted inside the zoo, that too in the heart of the capital city. Generally, a rhinoceros is an unsuspecting creature with poor eyesight, but when the poachers laid the wire to electrocute the rhino on Monday night, it started charging, realizing human presence and that actually saved the rhino, said a constable who looks after the rhinos in the zoo.

The incident has also brought to light how the security aspect of the Assam State Zoo was ignored by the forest department as most of senior officials of the zoo were forced to live outside the premises.

This was because senior and influential state government officers were illegally occupying the quarters of the zoo authorities. The zoo authorities have also decided to deploy armed forest guards in the zoo.

SOURCE : The Asian age, Friday, August 05, 2006

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