A rhinoceros died after falling in a pit at the Kaziranga National Park.

The rhino fell into a mud pit near Borbeel forest camp at the World Heritage Site on Wednesday and was stuck there for the entire day, officials said on Thursday.

Krishak Mukti Sangram Parishad supporters blocked the adjacent highway for three hours on Wednesday to protest against the alleged negligence of the forest department in handling the matter.

The locals claimed that they had made an attempt to rescue the animal. The rhino died at around 10.45 pm last night and its horn was removed by forest department officials this morning, they said.

With this, four rhinos were found dead in the park this year, including three killed by poachers.

Meanwhile, two poachers were killed in an encounter with forest guards in Bagori Range of the Park in the early hours on Thursday.

Park sources said a group of five poachers entered the KNP to kill rhinos when they came face-to-face with a patrolling team of forest guards.

In an exchange of fire with the forest guards, two of them were killed on the spot, the sources said.

A search operation has been launched to track three poachers who had escaped.