Rhino Horn Disposal Process Begins; 1st public hearing scheduled for August 29

The Assam government has begun the process of destroying rhino horns that are now housed in several treasuries around the state. While the vast majority of these horns will be destroyed, some will be saved for future research and biological references.

The State Forest Department will dispose of rhino horns in accordance with Section 39 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972. The government will, however, hold public hearings before carrying out the horn-disposing process, as directed by the Gauhati High Court. The first such public hearing will take place on August 29 at the Assam Forest School site in Jalukbari.

To check the status of rhino horns in the treasury, a state-level expert committee was formed. Seven zonal committees representing various districts were established by the state-level committee. The zonal committees are made up of veterinary physicians, NGO workers, forest department employees, and other stakeholders. On Monday, the five-day verification exercise came to an end.

The authenticity of rhino horns placed or maintained in treasuries at Barpeta, Morigaon, and Mangaldoi has previously been established. The zonal committees have recommended 241 horns for disposal and 18 for preservation throughout the vetting process thus far.