Rhino poacher escapes from lock-up in Assam

first_imgAn alleged rhino poacher escaped from the lock-up of the Bagari Forest Division of the Kaziranga National Park four days after he was arrested.Kaziranga forest guards and the Jakhalabandha police in Nagaon district in Assam had in a joint operation caught Akhter Ali near the national park on May 9. He was brought to the forest division’s lock-up that has been in need of repairs.The 27-year-old Ali, wanted in a December 2018 poaching case, gave the guards the slip after seeking permission in the evening to go to the toilet outside the lock-up. “We became suspicious when he took a long time to emerge from the toilet. We found he had escaped,” an official said, adding that the police had been alerted. The accused used to reside at Bandardubi adjoining the national park before moving to Garubandha in Jakhalabandha more than two years ago. Poachers had killed 84 rhinos in Assam between 2008 and 2018. A majority of them were in Kaziranga, one of four rhino habitats in the State.In 2018, six rhinos were killed in Kaziranga, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and also a Tiger Reserve. The trend has been declining since 2016 when 14 rhinos were killed in the park by poachers.This period was marked by a spike in the number of arrest of poachers — 95 in 2016, 117 in 2017 and 104 last year. The rhino census carried out in the 430 sqkm Kaziranga in March 2018 had estimated the one-horned animal’s population at 2,413, marginally up from 2,401 during the previous census in 2015.last_img