Poachers struck in Assam’s Kaziranga National Park after a brief pause to kill the 15th one-horned rhino this year. In all, 18 rhinos have been killed in the state.
Forest guards retrieved the carcass of the rhino from the Balipukhuri forest of the 430 sq km park’s Agratoli range on Friday. The animal’s horn had been sawed off after it was shot on Wednesday night.
Park officials said a search had been launched after gunshots were heard Wednesday night.
State forest minister Pramila Rani Brahma, who rushed to Kaziranga on Friday, said: “It is unfortunate that poachers managed to kill a rhino despite a series of measures undertaken.”
Police say a section of the poachers is from Nagaland. Rhino horns, sold as aphrodisiac for at least Rs 10 million each, are believed to be smuggled out to Southeast Asian countries through Nagaland.
Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and his Nagaland counterpart TR Zeliang had met at Kaziranga on Monday to discuss poaching among other cross-border issues.
Since 2001, poachers have killed more than 250 rhinos in Assam.