Guwahati (Assam), Sep 22 : At a public ceremony at Bokakhat in Kaziranga National Park (KNP) with Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma as the chief guest and several other politicians present today a stockpile of 2479 horns of single-horned rhinos were burnt in a first-of-its-kind exercise globally to mark the World Rhino Day sending a clear message to put an end to poaching in Assam and busting myths about rhino horns smugglers that such items have no medicinal value .
Rhino horns are used as traditional Chinese medicine to cure a range of ailments, from cancer to hangovers, and also as an aphrodisiac.
In Vietnam, possessing a rhino horn is considered a status symbol. Due to demand in these countries, poaching pressure on rhinos in Assam is ever persistent against which one cannot let the guard down.
On the other hand one-horned rhino also has an emotional bondage with the people here and is considered to be a symbol of prized heritage and identity of Assam.
A total 94 rhino horns will preserved for display at a museum to be set up at Kaziranga National Park to create awareness, scientific purposes and to to display as exhibits in certain court cases.
Following a Gauhati High Court order, Assam’s Environment and Forest Department had decided to destroy the rhino horns stored at various treasuries in different districts.
Earlier, a verification exercise was conducted on rhino horns which were seized from poachers, smugglers or extracted from dead animals over the last four decades and kept in government treasuries in districts.
The destruction of the rhino horns was conducted in conformity with the relevant provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972 and to comply the Gauhati High Court’s December 13, 2010 order,that was passed following public interest litigation.
The entire operation which was beamed live on regional TV networks was conducted by seven zonal committees and a technical panel constituted by the CWW.
The Assam government had constituted a panel, “Rhino Horn Verification Committee” in 2016, following allegations that fake horns were being used to replace the real ones in the district treasuries.
In the last such statewide inspection of rhino horns conducted in 2016, a total of 2,020 horns were found in 12 treasuries of the state. During the verification , the committee had found the “world’s largest” horn weighing 3.051 kg and 36 cm in length and it was found in 1982 from a rhino in the Bagori Range of Kaziranga National Park.
There is a standing instruction from the Supreme Court to burn wild animal parts like elephant tusks and rhino horns.. Assam has a collection of rhino horns seized after 1979. The rhino horns seized before 1979 were disposed off as per the wildlife Act then.
With an estimated rhinoceros population of 2,640, Assam has the largest number of Indian one-horned rhinos in the world.
Assam’s world-famous Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve, which is India’s seven UNESCO world heritage sites, situated in Golaghat, Nagaon, Sonitpur, Biswanath and Karbi Anglong districts, is home to more than 2,400 one-horned Indian rhinos.
One-horned rhino is not only integral to our civilisation, but also a symbol of our prized heritage and identity.
We are preserving 94 rhino horns for display at a museum to be set up at Kaziranga National Park.
The use of rhinos' horns for medicinal purposes is a myth. 2/2 pic.twitter.com/rr96fNQdXi
— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) September 22, 2021