After a brief lull, poachers again struck at Kaziranga National Park, about 250km here, killing two rhinos and chopping off their horns.
While a gang of poachers killed one rhino at the Dhanbari area under the Agoratoli forest range of the park on Thursday evening, another rhino carcass was recovered from the Kanchanjuri area under the Bagori forest range on Friday.
The adult male rhino whose carcass was recovered from Kanchanjuri was also a victim of poaching as its horn was missing. Park officials said according to the autopsy report, a .303 rifle was used to gun down the rhino at Kanchanguri.
At Dhanbari, the poachers killed an adult rhino on Thursday evening. Though an operation was launched soon after a gunshot was heard in the area, the poachers managed to escape. It started raining in the area soon after, slowing down the operation.
"Our staff found the carcass this morning after a night-long operation in the Agoratoli forest range. We also opened fire but no one was killed or injured in the attack. While the rhino at Kanchanjuri was killed with a .303 rifle, the weapon used at Dhanbari is yet to be ascertained," said Kaziranga divisional forest officer S K Seal Sharma.
Park officials said that a manhunt for the poachers was still on. No one has been nabbed yet in connection with the rhino killings. Officials said that poachers might have holed up in villages adjoining the park and intelligence gathering has been stepped up.