GUWAHATI: A team from Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park, about 150 km from here, foiled a poaching attempt and gunned down one poacher from a three-member gang early on Sunday morning.
The poachers sneaked into the park on Sunday barely 10 days after another group of poachers killed one rhino at the park on December 31.
The gang of poachers, which entered the park early on Sunday morning, were spotted by guards at the Panchnoi anti-poaching camp. They immediately alerted the range office.
A team led by range officer Chakrapani Roy ambushed the poachers in Rowmari area of the park. One among the three poachers was shot down in a brief exchange of fire between forest officials and the gang. The two others managed to flee leaving behind a .303 rifle, four rounds of live ammunition and food items.
"The poachers entered the park taking advantage of the dense fog that had engulfed the park. But our staff spotted their movement, which led us to successfully foil a poaching attempt. The pressure of poaching remains high especially during the festive season of Bihu," said Mangaldoi wildlife division conservator of forests Sushil Kumar Daila.
He added that patrolling had been intensified and vigil stepped up at all the vulnerable areas of the park.
Daila said the Sunday encounter was the second incident of a poacher being killed in two years.
The 78.81 square km park on the north bank of Brahmaputra has 100-odd rhinos. Last year, poachers managed to kill two rhinos, even as several poaching attempts were foiled by the park authorities. The last rhino poaching incident took place on December 31, in which home guard Sushil Sil was also killed.
A 50-year-old forest guard Md Giyasuddin Ahmed was arrested on charge of murdering Sil in connivance with the poachers.