Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who personally oversaw the event in Bokakhat amid the chanting of Vedic rituals and the blowing of conch shells, said they wanted to prove the common belief that rhino horns have properties miraculous medicinal products is a myth. The horns, extracted by poachers after killing the animals, have a huge illegal market in several countries, including Vietnam, where they are prized for their aphrodisiac qualities and sell for a high price.
Sarma said: “The horns have been destroyed to send a strong message against poaching and smuggling of rhino horns. We want to tell the world that the rhino living with the horn on its head is precious to us and not a dead animal whose pride has been taken away by poachers or those kept in government treasuries. ”
Selling these horns would spread the myth that rhino horns have medicinal values, which the state government wants to shatter. As trade in human organs cannot be authorized, the state government has also committed not to encourage trade in parts of wild animals, ”added the Chief Minister.
By decision of the cabinet, 2,479 horns were delivered to the fire. Around 94 horns will be on display in a museum to be set up in Kaziranga National Park, while 29 will be kept for court cases.
Sarma added that the government has adopted a zero tolerance policy towards wildlife poaching. The one-horned rhino population in Assam has grown from 1,672 in 1999 to 2,652 according to the 2018 census, which has contributed to the largest one-horned rhino moving up the conservation scale of “Endangered.” To “Vulnerable” under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species tag.
Sarma said it is against the law of the land to sell or buy property and wildlife and that is why these horns were destroyed.
Claiming that poachers will have to think twice before trying to kill wildlife in Assam, he said the state government will not allow any such activity and will take the strongest action against wildlife criminals. He informed that the elevated corridor above the highway through Kaziranga National Park will soon be built for the protection of wildlife.
“The destruction of the horns in a state with 71% of the world’s one-horned rhino population will send a strong message to poachers that the horn has no medicinal value and that its trade is completely illegal and based on myths. The horn is used in traditional Chinese medicine. Due to persistent demand in some countries, there is still pressure to poach, ”said the state’s chief chief conservator of forests (wildlife), Amit Sahai.