Gogoi orders probe into rhino poaching

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Guwahati, April 15 (IANS) Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Friday ordered an investigation into the killing of two rhinos in Assam’s Kaziranga National Park, including one gunned down by poachers when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were visiting the famed wildlife sanctuary.

The chief minister asked Additional Chief Secretary T.Y. Das on Friday to probe the killings and submit a report to him immediately.

While one rhino was killed in the park on Sunday night, poachers killed the other in Burapahar range of the park on Wednesday night, barely 30 km from a private tourist resort adjacent to the park where the British royal couple was lodged.

On Wednesday, the British royals, Prince William and Kate, visited the Bagori range of the park and spotted much wild life, including elephants, rhinos, water buffalo, swamp deer and others.

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The royals during their interaction with the forest staff enquired about the poaching of wildlife, especially of rhinos, and were assured about the anti-poaching measures in the park. Rather embarrassingly, the same night a rhino was gunned down with AK 47 automatic rifle by poachers within a short distance from the royals’ lodge.

Expressing serious concern over the rhino killings in the past few days, the chief minister asked the additional chief secretary to find out the details and the circumstances of the killing of the rhinoceros and to fix up responsibility.

Terming the killings as avery unfortunate, Gogoi also asked the special task force constituted to curb poaching to intensify operations against poachers and their aides and to evolve strategies to tackle rhino poaching by holding discussions with various students, social and community organisations and NGOs involved in wildlife protection.

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Seven rhinos have been killed by the poachers inside the high security park since January this year.

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