Intellectuals of Assam have appealed to the people asking them do their best to stop poaching of rhinos, which is the 'Pride of Assam'.
"We need to build up a strong support base for the sake of the rhinos and its preservation for which we earnestly appeal to all to come forward and do everything possible to protect and nurture this wonderful creature," a Raj Bhavan release quoted intellectuals as saying in a meeting.
To protect the great one-horned Indian rhinoceros of the state, Governor Padmanabha Balakrishna Acharya has convened a meeting of intellectuals to discuss the issue.
After detailed discussions, members of various organisations present in the meeting conveyed to the Governor their decision to issue a public appeal from their side.
"The rhino is our identity.... Killing of rhinos is a challenge to Assam's identity. Saving the rhino will ensure safeguard of the environment that will lead to conservation of natural habitats of all species," the release said today.
Wanting the residents along the wildlife sanctuaries to be the foremost protectors to prevent the poachers, they said, "We should equip these first line saviours and protectors to act against these poachers. It is our foremost duty to win their trust so that they can become our foremost allies."
The intellectuals expressed concern in the appeal as rhino population, which was once abundant in the alluvial grasslands of the Brahmaputra valley in Assam, has drastically come down in the recent times.
This is mainly due to poaching and some other reasons like large scale disappearance of their habitats, the release said, adding this third largest animal in the world is now facing a serious threat from multiple corners.
Stating the population of rhinos was restricted to Assam's national parks and wildlife sanctuaries of Kaziranga, Orang, Pabitora and Manas, the appeal pointed out that rhino poaching in the state has become one of the major environmental issues in the country.
Poaching for the rhino's horn is the single most important reason for the decline of the Indian rhino even though a number of conservation measures have been taken up by the authorities, the meeting held February 17 on noted.
The government has taken preventive measures but the situation has not improved much and that calls for more effective actions on the part of the government, agencies and other stakeholders of the civil society, the participants said.
Representatives from Asom Sahitya Sabha, Gauhati University, Vivekananda Kendra, Kamrup Mahanagar Zila Sahitya Sabha, and other intellectuals and former Bihar and Tripura Governor Devananda Konwar attended the meeting.