Police tracked down two poachers through selfies they had clicked inside the Kaziranga National Park in Assam after allegedly killing a female rhino seven months ago.
The accused – identified as Ruful Ali from Assam and Loisha Sema from Nagaland – were arrested on Wednesday from Jakhalabandha in central Assam’s Nagaon district.
Police said they got hold of the photographs from “informers” who are used to keep an eye on known criminals.
One of the photographs showed a smiling Ali with what appeared to be two automatic rifles fitted with silencers in the backdrop.
“The two accused had clicked photos of themselves inside the national park before killing the rhino on June 18 last year. We got the photos from our sources, which clearly proved their presence at the scene of the crime,” said Deben Bora, Jakhalabandha police station in-charge.
The bullet-riddled rhino carcass, with its horn missing, was found by forest personnel in the Bagori range located in the southern part of the park. Six empty cartridges of 303 rifles were also found near the carcass.
Police said Ali and Sema have confessed to the crime.
“Both of them have past cases of poaching registered against them. The photos helped us nab them and also prove their involvement in this particular case,” said Borah.
Kaziranga national park, which is home to nearly 2400 rhinos, saw the killing of 18 of the endangered species last year. Since 2001, a total of 245 rhinos have fallen prey to poachers’ bullets in the park, a Unesco world heritage site.