239 rhinos killed in Assam since 2001, most killed in Kaziranga

Guwahati: A total of 239 one-horned rhinos have been killed by poachers in Assam from 2001 to 2016, and despite high security, most were from Kaziranga National Park, which accounted for 161, the state assembly was told on Friday. Replying to a question from the Congress' Ajanta Neog, Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahma also said that the forest department had so far arrested 661 poachers since 2001. Giving the statistics, she said that while 161 rhinos have been killed in Kaziranga, 34 of them have been killed in Orang National Park, 15 one-horned rhinos in Pabitora Wildlife Sanctuary and nine in Manas National Park. The remaining 20 rhinos have been killed in different areas of the state. A total of 15 one-horned rhinos have been killed since January this year. While 12 of them were killed in Kaziranga, one each was killed in Manas and Orang, and one in Sonitpur. Brahma also told opposition legislator Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha that a total of 386 persons and 43 animals were killed due to man-animal conflicts in different parts of Assam in last five years. "While 68 people were killed in 2011 due to man-animal conflict, 83 people were killed in 2012. In 2013, 85 people were killed followed by killing of 53 people in 2014 due to conflicts with wild animals. Last year 97 people were killed due to man-animal conflict," she said. Most of the killings were reported from Sonitpur, Udalguri, Nagaon and Baksa districts, the Minister said. Brahma further informed that ten animals each were killed in humans in different parts of the state in 2011, 1012, and in 2013. Eight animals were killed in 2014 followed by killing of another five in 2015, she said adding that the killed animals includes 11 wild elephants and 32 leopards. The Minister further said that the government has taken up several steps to stop the man-animal conflicts across the state.