India Deploys Drones —to Protect Rhinos

Indian state gets aggressive against poachers

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 26, 2013 11:25 AM CDT

(Newser) – Problem: Poachers are killing more and more protected rhinos in India's Kaziranga national park, and the sanctuary is too massive to effectively patrol on the ground. Solution: Drones. Officials in the state of Assam plan to deploy the aircraft—presumably the inexpensive, unmanned variety—to help save their one-horned rhinos, reports the Wall Street Journal. Park rangers also now have automatic weapons and the authority to kill poachers in the line of duty, a development that has alarmed human rights groups but has the rangers sounding defiant.

"I'm not answerable to anyone to protect the rhinos," says one ranger recently involved in a shootout that left two poachers dead. "I will not let anyone harm them."

One-horned rhinoceros' look at tourists at Kaziranga national park in India.
One-horned rhinoceros' look at tourists at Kaziranga national park in India.   (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
A one-horned rhinoceros grazes inside Kaziranga national park in India.
A one-horned rhinoceros grazes inside Kaziranga national park in India.   (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
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