An Assam Rhino Was Shot Multiple Times. Where’s the Outrage We Felt for the Pregnant Kerala Elephant?

Animals

An Assam Rhino Was Shot Multiple Times. Where’s the Outrage We Felt for the Pregnant Kerala Elephant?

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

Assam has been submerged for nearly two months now, with an estimated 70 lakh people displaced as a consequence. Large parts of the state, including Kaziranga National Park, are still inundated, affecting scores of animals in the region.

Now, however, the animals have a human problem to contend with as well. According to a recent report, as a result of the incessant flooding, poaching has also been on the rise in the sanctuary, which is home to 90 per cent of the world’s one-horned rhino population.

Patrolling staff on Friday discovered the carcass of an adult female one-horned rhino who had been shot multiple times. The rhino’s horn, which is valuable in several Asian countries for traditional medicine, was missing when authorities found the animal.

Staff also recovered six rounds of cartridges from the spot, suggesting that the poachers who killed the rhino were well-armed, and possibly professional. One suspect was later detained in connection with the incident.

The sanctuary has been relatively free of poaching since the first half of 2019, when a Special Rhino Protection Force was commissioned to save the animals. But reports say this is already the second rhino carcass discovered in 2020.

Back in March, the body of a male adult rhino was recovered from the park. Then too, staff found multiple shot wounds on the animal, whose horn had been removed. An AK-47 was also recovered from the spot.

While these two deaths are certainly a cause for alarm, the news, much like that of Assam’s floods, in general, have not received much attention online. Especially when considering that just a few months ago, the gruesome death of an elephant in Kerala, who was fed fireworks, had broken thousands of hearts on social media.

In Assam, meanwhile, locals have been struggling to cope with the deadly floods that have claimed over a 100 lives so far. In between that, and now dealing with this new poaching menace, it’s clear that the state is going through one of its worst crises in recent years. More of us should stand up and take notice.

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