GUWAHATI: Even as Union minister of state for environment, forest and climate change Prakash Javadekar has promised zero tolerance to rhino poaching, wildlife conservation organizations have pointed out that strengthening of intelligence network is a must to check the killing of pachyderms.
In a memorandum submitted to Javadekar on Friday, Aaranyak, a biodiversity conservation NGO involved in rhino conservation in the state, suggested involvement of locals in the intelligence network. It added that information gathering should be appropriately funded to make the mechanism effective.
Aaranyak has also requested the minister to widen the ambit of investigation of rhino poaching to Nagaland and Manipur. Wildlife crime experts said rhino horn suppliers operate from these two states and subsequently smuggled out to Myanmar.
Bibhuti Prasad Lahakar of Aaranyak said inter-state cooperation has become imperative to make rhino poaching investigation effective because horns are smuggled through different states.
On Monday, Javadekar met representatives of NGOs, experts and stakeholders on what needed to be done to curb poaching.
While the forest department has sought more assistance from the MoEF in curbing poaching, some NGO representatives suggested that China and Vietnam, the major consumer of horns, be engaged in mitigating poaching pressure on rhino habitats of the state.
Aaranyak suggested that armed squads for anti-poaching activities should be trained by the Army with modern armaments, electronic surveillance and vehicles for protection and anti-poaching action.
Assam has 2,553 rhinos as per the 2013 census with 2,329 in Kaziranga alone. Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park has 100, 93 in Pobitora and 31 at Manas National Park.