GUWAHATI: Poachers killed another one-horned rhino and chopped off its horn in Kaziranga national park on Sunday. Forest guards gunned down one of the three poachers after the animal was killed. Two poachers managed to escape, but forest guards recovered the horn from the spot.
It was the fifteenth rhino to be poached in Kaziranga so far this year. The park has 2,000-odd rhinos.
The latest poaching took place in the northern forest range of the park. Soon after gunshots were heard early in the morning, forest guards went to the spot and cordoned off the area. After an exchange of fire, they managed to kill one poacher.
"There is always the threat of poaching," a park official said. "Poachers are always on the prowl to kill rhinos. Our staff were also on alert because we had intelligence inputs on poachers' movement. But it is unfortunate that we couldn't pre-empt Sunday's poaching as there were no specific inputs about this killing. Soon after we heard gunshots, we fanned out to different parts of the range, and closed all exit routes. After relentless search operation, we traced a group of three poachers. The poachers opened fire at us. We retaliated and killed one of them."
Altogether 17 rhinos have been killed in the state, including one at Manas national park and another at Pobitora wildlife sanctuary, this year. Last year, 40 rhinos were poached in the state, with the toll in Kaziranga reaching 35.