‘Foolproof’ tag on horn shift- Animal part safe in treasury, claims forest department
Guwahati, June 27: The Assam forest department is of the opinion that the process of collection of a rhino horn from its recovery spot and depositing it with the treasury is a “foolproof” one, ruling out any element of doubt.
A divisional forest officer confirmed this at a time doubts are being raised from different quarters about the authenticity of rhino horns which are to be burnt.
“The process is a foolproof one …It is checked and cross-checked and hence there cannot be any doubt,” the officer said. A number of officials concurred with him on this count.
According to the official, once a horn is removed from a rhino carcass, it requires to be boiled and dried in the sun to remove the organic particles along with the meat and also to eliminate the stench.
The boiling and drying process, before a horn is weighed, takes about three to four days.
The TRAFFICEast/Southern Africa — an wildlife trade monitoring network in the world — in its publication Rhino Horn Stockpile Management: Minimum Standards and Best Practices from East and Southern Africa says that measurement of the length and weight of a horn is necessary to avoid confusion. It also helps in calculation of the total weight of the horns stockpiled. A label is then put on the horn providing information, including the place and date of its recovery along with its weight.
It is then stored in the strongroom of the range office where details about the horn are put in a horn register. Registration of all horns is the most important part of stockpile management to ensure that all related information has been accurately recorded.
The divisional forest officer then forms a committee headed by an assistant conservator of forests who is assisted by a range officer for sending it to the treasury.
“As there is no point in sending one horn, we wait for some time so that more horns are collected,” the official said. The range officers of a particular forest division where a horn is found put their signatures on it. The horns are then sealed and packed in a trunk to be sent to the treasury with security. A list is prepared by the DFO which is deposited with the treasury.
On receiving the horns, the treasury officer and the person who goes to deposit the horns put their signature. “If we get a fake horn which we recognise immediately, we do not mix it with the real ones,” the official said. “If somebody wants to replace the horn, the seal will have to be broken,” the official said. Former principal chief conservator of forests M.C. Malakar said the process was foolproof.