Shootout Leaves Two Poachers Dead

Forest rangers in India killed two rhino poachers this week after a half hour gun battle.

The shootout occurred Monday after a group of poachers came into the Kaziranga National Park and set up near a ridge to wait for a rhino. Kaziranga is home to two-thirds of great one-horned rhinos, making it a treasure trove for poachers seeking rhino horns, which can sell for $30,000 on the black market.

Forest rangers converged on the poachers and chased them, eventually culminating in a thirty-minute shootout that left two poachers dead. The rangers believe there were between two and four more poachers in the group and a massive manhunt is currently underway in the area. Rangers recovered gear and rations from the dead poachers.

Rhino poaching is on the increase worldwide, especially in Africa, which has seen a 2,000% increase in recent years. Organized groups of poachers are lured by the prospect of a 7 pound horn that can fetch them $210,000 on the black market.

Rhinos, like tigers, are hunted to near-extinction because of humanity’s obsession with luxury, and its superstitious belief in pseudo-science and magical remedies. Despite the fact that rhino horns are composed of the same material as human fingernails, rhino horn is a sought-after ingredient in traditional medicines, aphrodisiacs, and beauty treatments, as well as being used as handles for showy decorative daggers in the Middle East.

Rhino poaching hasn’t increased in Asia as quickly as it has in Africa, but authorities know that bands of poachers worldwide are becoming organized, forming syndicates, and acquiring more and better tools and gear for the job: from helicopters and night vision to veterinary-grade tranquilizers.

The Forest Minister for the state of Assam, where the park is located, praised the work of his rangers after the incident and said that local villagers have been assisting the authorities in their efforts to end poaching.

Forest rangers can fight poachers at every turn, but as long as there is an economic incentive to hunt and kill rhinos, poachers will attempt it.

Sometimes a fatal shootout like the one on Monday is the result. Greedy poachers and fences often outnumber and outgun officials whose agencies are not always as well-funded as poaching operations.

Of course it is the government’s job to protect vulnerable and endangered species from poachers, but fighting poachers alone is equivalent to treating the symptom instead of the disease. 

In order to stop poachers, there must be a decrease in the demand for rhino horns, which must be facilitated by many simultaneous actions, starting with education about the falsity of its supposed medicinal properties and working to stop those who trade in rhino horn. Without fences, there will be no poachers.

But more important than anything else is for humanity to break out of its perception of animals as only having value relative to their usefulness or worth to humans. We have to learn to value animal life more than we value our fickle tastebuds, our craving for luxury items, and our overwhelming desire to stay young and beautiful forever, even if it means buying into nonsensical and scientifically unsound products like rhino horn.

By going vegan, you not only take a stand against the exploitation and murder of farm animals, animals raised for clothing and animals caged for entertainment, you change the perception that animals exist as products and resources for human consumption and exploitation.

In the end, a voluntary change of humanity’s view of animals is the only thing that will ever permanently end poaching, hunting and every other form of animal exploitation.

Related Stories: 

Rhino Poaching in Africa Up 2,000%

Wild Rhinos Get GPS Implants To Deter Poachers

Falcon Poaching on the Rise


Photo: Lip Kee


Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle8 years ago

good -- that will discourage a few more poachers -- that was bad of me to say. Course the real villains are the people that want rhino horns for their superstitious rituals, their ingredients for medicines.

As the author said so well, the real change will come when humans stop seeing animals as a product for use by humans. Just hope that all the exotics aren't extinct before that happens.

Emanuela B.
Emma B8 years ago

Well done !!!

Celeste E.
Celeste E8 years ago

Great going. Two down.

Diane B.
Dee B8 years ago

2 less morons in the world....millions more to go.

Patti B.

Well done!

Freya The Wanderer
Freya H8 years ago

Good riddance to those accursed poachers! If there is a Hell, may they be roasting there this very instant.

John Doe
james rico8 years ago

they should give the rangers the best machine guns to use and kill them all and then maybe this poaching will finally stop they should also set up a perminent perimiter so once they get in they can not get out just ranger stations at intervals and GPS locaters to zero in on them at all times then it must stop for good

Kim O.
Kim O8 years ago

Maybe the poachers should be ground up for ancient Chinese aphrodisiacs!!!!

Past Member 8 years ago

GOOD JOB!! Rangers on parade, no dead animals, two dead poachers...i call it a good day's work!

and for the rest of us...these poachers would not be doing what they are doing unless there were a market for want to stop poachers...stop the people from buying all this that they don't need.....and stop business from selling such items as rhino horns, sharkfin soup and every other unnecessary item that puts money in the pocket of poaches and means another dead animal...yep...this was a great gift...thanks...could i put in my birthday gift order now??? please???

Frances Mackiewicz

Its about time. This is the way they should handle these poachers and hopefully they will get the message.