With the starting of the Monsoon season, people get relief from the scorching heat but the animals especially the one-horned rhino are in danger as poachers take advantage of greater camouflage and flooding.
According to reports, the UNESCO-recognised reserve Kaziranga National Park which is home to the world’s one-horned rhinos draws hunters who can earn as much as $ 150,000 for one horn on a black market serving foreign demand for its use in traditional Chinese medicine.
In the current year, three rhinos have been killed so far.
The lives of rhinos are at risk during monsoon, it can be an especially grueling battle as the grass reaches head-height, providing perfect cover for poachers and flooding forces the animals to move to higher ground which sometimes move to the outskirts of the park.
A ranger of the park on the condition of anonymity said that they are always on their toes in this season and that there is hardly any rest for them. He said that they are being informed of the poachers entering into the park anytime and that they have to respond immediately.
The ranger further stated that the main attraction of the park are the one-horned rhinos which used to be widespread in the region but hunting and habitat loss has slashed their numbers to just a few thousand, almost all in Assam.
The horn of the rhinos are being sold at a high rate as prized in some forms of traditional Chinese and South East Asian medicine, acolytes believe the horns which contain keratin, the protein which also found in human hair and nails can cure anything from cancer to curses or can be used as an aphrodisiac.
According to media reports, in 2014 poachers killed 27 rhinos inside the park followed by 16 in 2015. But a sharp increase in the number of rangers which stands at 700 at present helped reduce poaching to seven in 2017 and six in 2018.