A forest guard (i.e. ranger) in Orang National Park paid the ultimate price for protecting wildlife last week. Hassan Ali was found with two bullets in his stomach after being kidnapped by four men allegedly connected to poaching operations targeting the park.
One of the men, identified as Isha Haq Ali, was a member of the Indian home guard; another, known as Tajuddin, was a Mahout (elephant trainer). They were arrested along with Tajuddin’s father and brother for the murder.
According to officials Hassan Ali had learned that the men were involved in wildlife poaching and was working to stop their efforts.
Orang National Park is located in the state of Assam and contains approximately 60 Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis), which are listed a Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List due to poaching for their horns. In 2009 Orang National Park lost six rhinos to poachers.
Rhino horns are in high demand in the black market as a traditional Chinese medicine, although scientists have found no curative benefits to consuming rhino horn.
(03/02/2010) The rare Indian rhinoceros is not safe from poachers even in national parks. In Nepal’s world renowned Royal Chitwan National Park, twenty-four Indian rhinos (Rhinoceros unicornis) have been poached since the last census was taken in 2008. The most recent one was killed last Thursday. Approximately 372 Indian rhinos survive in the park, and the population is in decline.
(11/25/2009) Rhino poaching has hit a fifteen-year high, and the rising price for black-market rhino horn is likely the reason why. For the first time in a decade rhino horn is worth more than gold: a kilo of rhino horn is worth approximately 60,000 US dollars while gold is a little over 40,600 US dollars.
(07/09/2009) Rhino poaching rates have hit a 15-year-high as a consequence of demand for horns for use in traditional medicine, according to new report published by the wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC. Asia-based criminal gangs run the illegal trade.