Poachers killed a one-horned rhino even as the state's newly appointed forest minister was camping in the park and personally reviewing strategies to thwart poaching in Assam's Kaziranga National Park Thursday night, officials said.
"It's very unfortunate that the poachers have killed another rhino inside the park. We have suspended the ranger of the concerned range of the park where the poachers have killed the rhino. I have also ordered a probe to be carried out by the chief conservator of forests (CCF), Wildlife, to look into the incident," Assam Forest Minister Atuwa Munda said.
He has been camping in the park for the last several days to also review the measures adopted by forest department to tackle other wildlife crimes.
Munda took charge as the state forest minister in January and has been trying to involve the fringe villagers of the national park in ensuring conservation of rhinos and other wildlife in the park.
"We have been taking steps to enhance the security of the park," he said.
The guards have recovered the carcass of the rhino in the park near Gohpur whose horn was taken away by the poachers.
This is the fifth one-horned rhino to be killed by poachers in Assam this year.
Assam Governor P.B. Acharya had also been expressing serious concern over unabated rhino poaching and suggested an overhaul of the security set up inside the park.
Assam government has increased the number of staff in the park from 49 in 1967 to 562 in 2001.
In addition, more than 430 Assam Forest Protection Force (AFPF) personnel have been posted in the park since 2013. However, poaching has been continuing unabated in the park.