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Current Affairs

Assam government burns confiscated Rhino horns

Date: 23 September 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

The government of Assam has planned to burn a stockpile of nearly 2,500 horns of the one-horned rhinoceros.

 

Background

The horns were confiscated from poachers and illegal hoarders. The burning event is planned to mark World Rhino Day on September 22.

 

Details

  • The ceremony will be held at Bokakhat in Kaziranga National Park (KNP). It is expected to be a milestone towards rhino conservation.

  • The burning will be a myth-buster about rhino horns. It will send a signal to all poachers and smugglers that such items have no value.

 

The demand for rhino horns

  • The powdered form of rhino horn is used as a cure for Cancer, hangovers and a range of medical ailments in traditional Chinese medicine. It is also considered an aphrodisiac.

  • The rhino horns are treated as a symbol of wealth in Vietnam. This has transpired into demand for horns in the black market.

 

The destruction

  • It will be carried out in compliance with Section 39(3)(c) of the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972. A matter was heard in court and there were no objections from public.

  • India is a member of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna) which makes it illegal to sell such horns. Instead of rotting in state treasury the horns will be burned.

 

The exercise

  • The team comprising of experts such as DFOs, wildlife experts, forensic specialists and technicians examined horns preserved across state treasuries.

  • The samples were collected and unique ones were preserved. This was all part of a re-verification exercise of the state department.

  • The destruction of horns has never been carried out earlier, however re-verification exercise was carried out in 2016 on allegations that officials were selling confiscated horns and replacing them with fakes.

 

Threat of poaching

  • The poaching in the state has witnessed a steady fall since the highs of 2013 and 2014. However, the threat still looms large.

  • To keep a check on rhino poaching and related activities, a Special Rhino Protection Force was set up by the state government.