In a national park in northeastern India, the guards shoot at the poachers to protect the rhinoceros. This radical step taken at the Kaziranga sanctuary is more than controversial, but its results are indisputable and allowed the preservation of the animal population, while deeply dividing public opinion. Indeed, in 2015, the number of poachers killed by guards exceeded the number of rhinoceros slaughtered by poachers, according to the BBC, which broadcast on 11 February an accusing documentary: Our World: Killing for Conservation.
While the demand for animal horn is growing on the black market and rhinoceros populations in Africa and Southeast Asia are experiencing a sharp decline, in Kaziranga Park the rhinos thrive. A century ago, there was only a handful of rhinoceros in one horn. Kaziranga Park now has more than 2,400, or two thirds of the world’s population.
“No jury, no judge, no question”
But this protection has a cost, a human cost. In the past three years, 50 people have died for attempting to engage in poaching. By 2015 the number of poachers killed by Kaziranga Park guards exceeded that of rhinoceros slaughtered by poachers – 23 against 17. The park justifies this high number of deaths by explaining that poachers’ gangs are often heavily armed, Engage in mortal shootings with the guards. However, statistics indicate that these “confrontations” are rather unbalanced, according to the BBC.
The park guards were granted permission to fire on sight and were instructed to load their weapons as soon as an alleged poacher was spotted. Dr. Satyendra Singh, Park Manager, explains that poachers recruit local people to guide them, as “hunters” usually come from neighboring states.
Survival International , a London-based NGO, says the rights of the surrounding tribes are being sacrificed in the name of nature protection: “This park is managed with the utmost brutality , says Sophie Grig, no jury, no judge , no question. “