Poachers strike again, Kaziranga rhino killed

The carcass of yet another rhino, with its horn missing, has been found inside the Kaziranga National Park, officials said Thursday.

Despite the high security in the park, stepped up after a large number of poaching incidents were reported in the wake of the monsoon flooding of the area, poachers seem to continue to act with impunity.

N.K. Vasu, director of the Kaziranga National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site, said that a female rhino was found killed at the Kukurakata range inside the park, with its horn chopped off by suspected poachers.

"We have launched a massive manhunt along with the police in and around the national park to nab culprits," Vasu said, expressing concern that incidents of poaching have continued.

Located about 240 km from Assam's main city, Guwahati, the park hit headlines last month after several poaching incidents were reported, leaving at least 12 rhinos dead since January this year.

The park, famous also for the highest density of tigers in the world, is recognised as an important bird area by Birdlife International.

"There have been continuous attempts by poachers to kill rhinos. Our men and the additional security forces have been working hard to prevent attempts by poachers," said Vasu, adding that the joint operation by the forest department and police had led to the arrest of over 50 poachers in the past two months.

After the spate of rhino killings last month, security at the park had been heightened.
There are now about 235 security personnel, including the CRPF and  the elite Assam Forest Protection Force (AFPF), deployed in the park, Vasu said.

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