More than 2400 Rhino Horns consigned to flames; Ashes to be immersed in river Brahmaputra

On the occasion of World Rhino Day, the Assam government on Wednesday burned 2,479 rhino horns to bust myths connected with it and prevent poaching of the animal.

As per reports, the government will burn the stockpiles of the 2,479 rhinos’ horns in six giant furnaces on Wednesday.

The rhinos horns were burned at Bokakhat, Assam’s Golaghat district, near Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve (KNPTR). The grand ceremony has been publicized as a “milestone towards rhino conservation” aimed at “busting myths about rhino horns”.

“It’s a loud and clear message to the poachers and smugglers that such items have no value,” said M K Yadava, Chief Wildlife Warden, Assam.

Addressing the event Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma said “Through this event, we want to convey to the world that rhino horns are just a mass of compacted hair and there is no medicinal value to them. We want to urge people not to kill these rare animals or buy their horns based on superstitions or myths. We should allow rhinos to live and grow naturally,” Sarma said.

“Some are saying that instead of damaging the horns we should have sold them. But like the way, we can’t sell seized drugs to earn revenue, the same way a government can’t earn money by selling rhino horns. In Africa, they have burned seized rhino horns, but the quantity is not that large. I think today we are setting a world record,” he added.

The State cabinet recently resolved to destroy 2,479 rhino horns, out of 2,623 horns stored in various treasuries. The State forest and environment department has already conducted the verification process to identify probable fake horns among the real ones in 12 treasuries across Assam as allegations were raised that a section of corrupt forest officials would destroy those fake horns and later smuggle those into international markets, stated a press release.

Patriotic People’s Front Assam (PPFA) has also backed the initiative to dispose of wildlife parts, including the rhinoceros horns, kept in State treasuries for decades, but it demands full transparency in the process.

“I congratulate the Assam government on the decision to burn the rhino horns and send the message that they don’t have any medicinal value. The horn looks best on a living animal and is not suited for any other purpose,” said Bibhab Talukdar, chief executive officer (CEO) of Aaranyak, a wildlife non-governmental organization (NGO).

He also took to Twitter and shared his message

Former forest minister of Assam Parimal Suklabaidya said, “This is a rare event and since there’s god present in each being, we decided to consign the rhino horns to flames with Vedic rituals. The horns were verified in a very transparent manner before destroying them. We also want to convey a stern message to poachers not to dare target another rhino in Assam.”

“Scientifically, rhino horns don’t have any value, but they have a price in some markets based on superstitions about its medicinal properties. If we preserve them, it will convey the message that we believe in such superstitions. It’s good that the horns stored in Assam are being destroyed,” Rathin Barman, joint director, Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) said.

” We care for a live rhino and not to a horn of a dead rhino” he further tweeted..

The program commenced with chanting of slokas from Veda by 21 priests. The horns were set on fire using chemical explosives fired from a drone. The ashes of the buried horns will be immersed in the river Brahmaputra.

Meanwhile, the government has decided to conserve 94 horns in a natural history museum to be set up near Kaziranga. These include the second-longest rhino horn and heaviest rhino horns in the world.

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