A rhinoceros was shot dead by poachers in Kaziranga National Park in Assam but its horn was left intact, park sources said today.
On hearing gun shots near their camp at Phuloguri in Burapahar Range of KNP, forest guards after midnight yesterday encountered a three-member group of poachers and exchanged fire with them but the assailants managed to escape after killing the rhino, the sources said.
The poachers fled without the horn which they had sawed after killing the rhino by the side of National Highway 37, they said.
The rhino was suspected to have been gunned down with AK-47 assault rifles as two empty cartridges were found near the carcass. A magazine with 26 bullets was also recovered nearby.
This is the 35th rhino killing by poachers this year at the 430-sq km World Heritage Site in Assam which has the highest population of the great one-horn rhinoceros.