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Poachers kill rhino, escape with horn in Kaziranga

Poachers on rampage:Forest officials examine the carcass of the dehorned rhino at Kaziranga National Park.File photo: PTI  

Poachers killed an adult rhino and escaped with its horn from the Western Range of Kaziranga National Park in Biswanath district, a senior forest official said on Sunday.

According to Kaziranga National Park divisional forest officer Rohini Ballav Saikia, the incident took place around midnight at Polokata near the Sitamari area -- a sandbar island in the Brahmaputra -- south of the Baghmari powergrid station under the Lahorijan forest camp.

“Poachers took its horn and fled the spot, which is an open area of about 200 metres from the forest camp. We have also found five rounds of empty cartridges of .303 rifle from the spot,” Mr. Saikia said.

Mr. Saikia, along with other senior forest officials, reached the spot this morning and a joint team of forest and police personnel launched an operation to nab the poachers, he added.

This is the second rhino poaching incident in Kaziranga this year.

On January 14, a female rhino was killed at Daflang camp area of Bagori range, but the poachers could not take its horn.

During the ongoing budget session of the Assam Assembly, Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahma said that altogether 74 rhinos have been killed by poachers in Assam since 2015 and 316 poachers were arrested during 2015-17.

As many as 21 rhinos were killed in 2015, 22 the next year and nine in 2017, the Minister had informed the House on February 8.

The killing of the rhino took place within hours of Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi directing law enforcing agencies to take all measures to prevent cases of poaching of rhinos in the Kaziranga National Park.

‘Pride of the State’

“Assam has earned its name and fame worldwide because of the Kaziranga National Park and its precious one-horned rhinoceros. Indiscriminate killing of the rhinos by the poachers is not only an attack on the creature, it is an attack on the pride of the State,” the Governor said.

Incidents of poaching over the months have reduced drastically but security agencies must be on their toes to foil any nefarious design to harm the rhinos, he added.

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Printable version | Sep 10, 2021 12:20:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/poachers-kill-rhino-escape-with-horn/article22727150.ece

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