Another rhino killed by poachers in Kaziranga

A rhino was today killed and its horn removed by poachers who were also engaged in a gun battle with forest guards in Kaziranga National Park.

Forty-two rhinos have so far been killed by poachers and floods at the Kaziranga National Park in Golaghat district of Assam.  Of the 42 rhinos, one of them had strayed out and died in Nalbari district.

At around 1.10 pm today, forest guards at Sohola camp in Agoratoli range of the park heard gun shots and immediately launched an operation in the area, KNP Divisional Forest Officer Dibyadhar Gogoi told PTI.

A fierce encounter followed with the poachers exchanging bullets with the guards but none from the security forces was injured, Gogoi said.

When the forest personnel searched around, they found the carcass of a rhino with its horn removed, he said.

A 303 rifle with ammunition belonging to the poachers was recovered from the area, the DFO said. '

The blood stains seen in the flood water inside the park were suspected to have been of wounded poachers who fled away with the horn.

Gogoi said the poachers had taken advantage of the inclement weather with incessant rainfall in the park for the last two days.

Meanwhile, patrolling has been intensified inside and around the park with a search operation launched to nab the culprits, he added.

The last incident of poaching was reported on Monday when a rhino was killed at Hatidandi Gobin Gaon in Kaziranga where poachers tried to remove its horn as evident by the several cut marks on it but failed to do so.

Union Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan had visited KNP on Wednesday and announced a special package of Rs one crore for the park.

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