A rhino was killed and its horn removed on Thursday in the Kaziranga National Park, taking the number of pachyderms killed by poachers this year to 20.

The body of the full-grown female rhino was found at Kukurkata near Kathalchang forest camp in Burapahar range, officials said.

The animal’s horn was sawn off and empty cartridge shells of AK-47 were found near the carcass.

Forest guards have launched a massive search operation along the Karbi Hills to apprehend the poachers who may have escaped to neighbouring Karbi Anglong district.

Another rhino had died last week due to natural causes after it got stuck in the mud at Borbeel under Kohora range of the national park.

Altogether 65 rhinos have died during the year in Kaziranga — 20 killed by poachers, 22 due to natural causes and 23 during floods.