Kaziranga National Park, in India, is willing to do anything to protect rhinoceroses from poaching: for that, guards carry guns and are authorized to shoot any poachers who threaten the lives of an animal.
Kazaringa has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1985, and contains the largest population of Indian one-horned rhinoceroses in the world. Around 2400 of these herbivores live there, making up two-thirds of the world population of the species.
The park is situated in the state of Assam, on the eastern edge of the Himalaya Mountains. In a context where rhinoceros horn can sell for up to $6000 for 100 grams - more valuable than gold - Kaziranga is a hunting ground coveted by poachers.
And so the radical measure was put into place by the regional Assam government, who gave guards immunity in case they kill someone while protecting the forest. In 2015, 23 poachers were killed, compared to 17 rhinos, according to park statistics.Aware of the potential problems related to this legislation, authorities ordered the guards to give a warning before firing. Despite this, in 2016, a seven-year-old boy was accidentally shot in the right leg, irreversibly limiting his mobility. The park gave the family $3000 in damages. As for the guards who fired the bullet, they were suspended.
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