From Our Correspondent
GUWAHATI: The anti-talks faction of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) has raised concern over the state of the conservation of one-horned Indian rhinoceros, the crowning jewel of the wildlife resources in Assam.
Turning wildlife conservationist for a change , the anti-talk faction of United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) called upon the forest department of Assam to involve international experts in removing horns (de-horning) of rhinos and curb poaching of these majestic animals.
In a statement e-mailed to the media, the ‘acting Chairman’ of ULFA’s anti-talk faction Abhijeet Asom called upon the forest department to declare the “process of de-horning of rhinos” and bring in transparency in the system.
The ULFA statement came a few days after a straying rhino died after its horn had been sawed off by the forest department staff for its protection. The rhino had strayed from Kaziranga National Park (KNP) and took shelter in Majuli island in the Brahmaputra River.
The rhino later died on March 25 due to internal injuries suffered during an attack by locals. In the statement, ULFA said a transparent methodology of storing horns should also be adopted and the revenue earned from it legally should be used for conservation efforts.The ULFA chairman said that help of renowned conservationist like John Hume of South Africa should be sought for this matter. The ULFA has asked the forest department to emulate the Chinese example and take help of the public and NGOs for planting ‘quick growing grass, bamboo, wild palms’ as fodder for these herbivores.
The statement of the ULFA in the wake of some NGOs crying foul over the forest department’s action to de-horn the straying rhino resulting in it death, is construed by security sources as a fresh ploy to regain its lost ground among the people of Assam given that the one-horned rhino is close to the heart of every indigenous person in the state.