GUWAHATI: Even as the forest department is toying with the idea of deploying smart guards at Kaziranga National Park, conservationists and rhino experts here believe that convicting poachers and actively pursuing abettors of the crime are imperative to tackle the menace of rhino poaching in the state.
Expressing concern over the low conviction rate of those arrested for poaching, conservationists and experts feel that strengthening of the intelligence mechanism should be prioritized.
Bibhab Kumar Talukdar, chairperson of the Asian Rhino Specialist Group of IUCN Species Survival Commission, said priority should be laid on intelligence gathering of movement of poachers and consequent effective action, preferably when poachers are still outside the park.
"And if arrests are made, ensure conviction by putting a dedicated team of forest officials to pursue the cases. Without conviction, we can't tackle the menace. Arrest is just the first step. If arrested persons are not convicted, they become professional poachers and create more poachers," Talukdar said.
Several rhinos have been killed at the national park, a Unesco world heritage site about 250 km from here, over the last few years.