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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Poachers Now Hunt for Wild Buffalo Horns

Poachers it seems have conspired to go to any extent to wipe out wild animals from their natural environment. The latest animal to bear the brunt has been the Wild Buffalo that already has a receding population of just 4000 left in the wild.

Recently, West Bengal forest officials seized a huge cache of endangered wild buffalo horns, a total of 627 horns found concealed underneath 16.8 tonns of coal from a truck in Chopra, Uttar Dinajpur district.Three persons, including the truck driver, were arrested.

As a first case of its sort even officials are baffled as to why Wild Buffalo horns were being carried in that truck. As the destination it was going to is still not known, forest officials can just make guesses as to the cause.

That the horn are definitely Wild Buffaloes’ is almost certain because then it would not have been carried hidden in a coal truck, clarifies Utpal Kumar Nag, Assistant Divisional Forest Officer.

Wild Buffaloes were once found to roam northern, eastern, north-eastern, central and Nepal border parts of India. But gradually their population has confined to the north eastern states.

"Wild buffaloes already face severe threats due to habitat destruction, disease transmission and competition from domestic livestock among others. If trade is established as a threat, then this is serious and will have to be studied further," said Ashok Kumar, Vice-chairman, Wildlife Trust of India (WTI).

The wild buffalo is listed under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, that mandates a punishment of three to seven years imprisonment for poaching and trade.

It is also classified as "endangered" in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species

Image Credit
Flickr photo by Siddy Lam

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