As poachers targeted another one-horned rhino in Kaziranga National Park (KNP) last night, the Assam government today announced 'handsome cash rewards' to any persons providing information on these criminals as journalists also joined in protests against poaching.
Forest department sources said an adult rhino was shot dead by poachers in Burapahar range of the KNP late last night.
Forest guards had rushed to the spot on hearing gun-shots and also opened fire to chase away or nab the poachers, but with no luck.
The carcass of the rhino was later recovered with its horn cut off.
Three empty cartridges and other equipment were recovered from the spot.
The recurring poaching of rhinos in the state, with nearly 40 already killed this year and mostly in the KNP, state Forest Minister Rakibul Hussain said cash reward will be given to persons providing information leading to apprehension of poachers.
'We have provision to pay up to Rs 1 lakh to persons providing such information and their identities will be kept secret,' Mr Hussain was quoted as stating in New Delhi by local television channels.
The chief minister had also earlier announced of cash rewards, the minister added.
Meanwhile, activists of various students, youth and apolitical bodies, led by Journalists Union of Assam (JUA), today staged a sit-in demonstration in Kohora range of the KNP against poaching incidents.
Local women and men joined the demonstration with songs, accompanied by instruments, calling on the better senses of the poachers to refrain from targeting the animals.
Rhinos are routinely targeted for its horns which fetch lakhs of rupees in the international market for its purported medicinal values, though scientific studies have not found any such evidence.