The Kaziranga National Park in India practices a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to poachers. Because these criminals trespass on park property and try to kill the park’s endangered rhinoceros population, India’s government sanctioned the killing of the poachers. That’s right. Any person who wants to kill a rhino in Kaziranga National Park to collect its valuable horn will be shot dead on sight (according to reports, more than 50 poachers have died due to this policy update).
When poachers obtain a rhino horn, they can sell it on the black market for upwards of $6,000 per one hundred grams. This price makes rhino horns a lot more valuable than gold – and much easier to obtain for those looking to break the law and kill the endangered species.
Rhino horns are wrongly marketed as a miracle cure for common problems like erectile dysfunction to more dire diagnoses like cancer. The Indian government did not want to allow poachers to rape their animal populations by killing rhinos for their valuable horns. But the government knew that prosecution of these criminals would not be enough to stop them from killing rhinos and taking their horns. That’s why the government passed a motion to let park officials kill poachers (or anyone harming a rhino) on sight.
The park has no record of all the poachers they’ve killed over the years.
“We don’t keep each and every account,” says a senior official in India’s Forest Department. This individual manages affairs from the country’s national parks. However, at the height of the poaching season, park guards killed about two poachers every month.
In 2015, the park guards killed more poachers and potential poachers than the criminals killed rhinos. Although some say the law is barbaric, the order has protected rhinos from death.
Avdesh has unloaded bullets at two people during his four years as a guard. However, he has never killed anyone while at work. He thinks it is unlikely that he ever will because poachers now know those park guards are armed and ready to kill.
What do you think about this policy to protect rhinos?