By Naresh Mitra
Guwahati: Two poachers, who had been caught on camera trying to kill a rhino at Orang National Park in 2011, were convicted by a district court and awarded two years' rigorous imprisonment on Tuesday.
The park is about 150 km from here on the northern bank of the Brahmaputra.
The Mangaldoi wildlife division's conservator of forest, Sushil Kumar Daila, said the Darrang district session court convicted Haren Daimari and Dharmeswar Basumatari under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Besides two years of rigorous imprisonment, a fine of Rs 25,000 each was imposed on the two, Daila said.
"This is the first time that poachers are being convicted for committing a crime at Orang," Daila said.
The cameras, which had been installed in the park for tiger estimation, helped reveal the identities of the poachers. Park authorities had pasted posters of the two in different parts of the district and announced Rs 25,000 as reward for anyone providing information about them.
"The duo surrendered before Dhekiajuli Police in the same year. Two rifles were seized from them," Daila added.
The 78.81-sq km park has around 100 rhinos and a 'healthy' tiger density. The National Tiger Conservation Authority is working on declaring it a tiger reserve.
Wildlife experts welcomed the conviction and said it would go a long way in curbing poaching. Despite several arrests, they said, low conviction rate leads to unabated poaching in Assam.
Last year, a mother-son duo, Picholi Doley and her son Gautam, was convicted by the Golaghat session court in connection with rhino poaching in Kaziranga National Park, a Unesco World Heritage Site about 250 km from here.