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article imageForest Rangers Kill Two Rhino Poachers in Kaziranga

By Carolyn E. Price     Apr 26, 2007 in World
Wildlife authorities warned poachers that if they came after rhinos in Kaziranga park, they would be killed and that is just what happened, one day after the warning was issued.
This post is an update to wiccania's post entitled 6 Rare Rhinos Killed in India.
Officials are reporting today that forest rangers shot two poachers dead in a world-famous rhino park in northeast India, just one day after authorities warned hunters of the endangered beasts that they would be killed if caught.
Assam’s chief wildlife warden M C Malakar said: “The encounter took place... before the poachers were able to do any damage to the wildlife” in the 430sq km Kaziranga National Park. “A silencer-fitted rifle was recovered from the two dead poachers.
In 1985, Kaziranga was named a world heritage site by Unesco. The park is around 220 kilometers east of Assam’s largest city of Guwahati.
The killing of the two men came a day after Assam authorities announced a massive anti-poaching drive to protect the one-horned rhino. Officials report that they have hired an additional 50 rangers and 30 armed guards in Kaziranga.
These new measures were brought about because six rhinos had been killed so far this year. In all of 2006, only five rhinos were poached and seven were killed in 2005. According to government estimates, around 500 rhinos have been killed by poachers over the past 20 years and around 1,855 rhinos of the estimated 2,700 one-horned Indian rhinos left in the world today currently live in Kaziranga National Park.
The warden said: “All our rangers are on maximum alert with the round-the-clock vigil intensified all along the park and its periphery.
Most experts believe that the rhino’s horns will be smuggled into China or are sold into other Asian markets. The Chinese believe that the horns are an aphrodisiac.
People in the Middle East are also willing to buy the rhino horns to make ornamental dagger handles. Horns have been known to sell for up to $35,000 a kilogram.
The western state of Gujarat is also battling poachers. It stepped up security in its Gir forest reserves last week following the mysterious deaths of around a dozen rare Asiatic lions.
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