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Centre promises tough action to check poaching of rhinos

Centre promises tough action to check poaching of rhinos
Terming the recent killing of rhinos in the Kaziranga national park as a “serious” issue, the Centre on Friday said that it would take stringent action against poachers and also ask the state government to immediately recruit people in the rhino task force to check the killing of the animals.

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said the recent approval given by the Centre to India adopting the statute of the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN) would increase cooperation between South Asian countries to check wildlife crimes.

Javadekar said the Centre was very serious regarding the issue and had initiated tough action against the poachers, many of whom have been killed, and such steps will continue.

“They are using AK47s. This is a serious issue. We have already created a rhino task force. Unfortunately, the state government has not recruited. Now the elections are over. We will ask the state government to immediately do that. Our concept is that local youths are trained and recruited in the protection force. The Centre is going to pay (for it),” Javadekar said.

Hours after Britain’s Prince William and his wife Princess Kate Middleton visited the Kaziranga National Park, poachers shot dead a rhinoceros at the sprawling sanctuary using AK47 guns.

The poachers had killed a female rhino just two days before the royal couple’s visit. The horns of both the animals were hacked off.

The Union Cabinet had recently given its nod to India adopting the statute of the SAWEN, which will help check cross-border wildlife crimes.

The approval by the Cabinet at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi allows the country to become a formal member of SAWEN in order to strengthen ties with the member countries in controlling the trans-boundary wildlife crime through communication, coordination, collaboration, capacity building and cooperation in the region.

"SAWEN which has been approved by the cabinet is very important. It is the neighbouring countries where the horns are smuggled, and then, they go for final destination. So close cooperation of neighbouring South Asian countries is an essential part in stopping the illegal trade. At the same time, we are also taking action on ground. The state government should immediately recruit local people and train them,” Javadekar said.
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