A post mortem of the carcass of one of the two Kaziranga National Park rhinos, which died of injuries on Friday after poachers shot at them, revealed that an AK series rifle was used.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Suresh Chand told The Hindu that two bullets from an AK series rifle were found in the carcass of the rhino, which the poachers shot at in the Jagadamba Tea Estate close to the Karbi Anglong hills on Thursday before making off with its horn.

Mr. Chand said this was the second instance this year of poachers using an AK series rifle on a rhino. The earlier incident took place during the high-flood situation in July.

These incidents vindicated the suspicion of the park authorities and the Forest Department that insurgents active in the Karbi Anglong hills could be involved in poaching of rhino horns, Mr. Chand said.

Assam Home Secretary G.D. Tripathi said the Army had launched an operation against insurgents in the hills adjacent to the park in the wake of reports that such elements were in league with the poachers and running a bigger network.

In another incident, two leopard cubs were killed in Kalugaon village in upper Assam’s Sivasagar district. The carcass was tied to a piece of bamboo and paraded in public. The PCCF (Wildlife) said forest officials and staff rushed to the spot as soon as they received the information but the two cubs had already been killed before they could reach the village.