Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi on Friday ordered a probe into the killings of two rhinos, including one during the stay of Britain’s Prince William and Kate Middleton at Kaziranga National Park.
He asked TY Das, additional chief secretary, to investigate the killings and submit a report “immediately.”
Poachers had struck early Thursday morning in Kaziranga’s Burapahar range, sawing off the horn of a rhino after pumping it with 80 bullets from automatic weapons. The range had fewer guards to protect the animals, as some had gone to Bagori range 12 km away for a meeting of forest guards with the British royal couple, who had stayed Wednesday night at a resort in that range.
Officials said the chief minister also directed an anti-poaching special task force to intensify operations against poachers in the UNESCO World Heritage Site and evolve strategies to protect wildlife by taking locals into confidence.
Poachers had killed another rhino three days before William and Kate had arrived. The royal couple had primarily come to see conservation measures undertaken in the 860 sq km national park, which is also a tiger reserve.
Assam has lost more than 200 rhinos to poachers since January 2000. Most of the rhinos were killed in Kaziranga.
The other wildlife preserves that have lost rhinos are Orang National Park, Manas National Park and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, which is often called ‘mini Kaziranga’.