A motion-sensitive camera with automatic sensors placed in Kaziranga National Park for an ongoing tiger census recorded two poachers early on Monday morning.
Home to an estimated 2,200 one-horned rhinos, the 860 sq km Kaziranga is a happy hunting ground for wildlife criminals whose network extends to China and Southeast Asia.
"We launched a search operation after our forest guards heard gunshots early in the morning near the Sonok anti-poaching camp. We subsequently found one of the two cameras placed for tiger trapping, north of the camp, missing. The other camera had visuals of two armed poachers recorded in it," Ikarmul Mazid, range officer of the park's Burapahar range said.
The camera captured the poachers who were inside the Burapahar range adjoining a hill range named Bagser, yet to be made a part of the World Heritage Site despite recommendations from the park authorities.
Mazid said each poacher had a sophisticated rifle in the hands and a revolver on the waist. "Their features clearly indicated they were most probably from Nagaland and aged around 25 years," he added.
Park officials said the poachers took away one of the cameras possibly after it flashed due to their movement.
Last week, a group of poachers were recorded inside Odisha's Simlipal Tiger Reserve. Cameras placed in that wildlife preserve showed poachers armed with bows and arrows.
Poachers have made several attempts to kill rhinos in Kaziranga in the past week. "At least four attempts were made with gunshots being heard by our guards. We heard three gunshots on Friday, but we found no casualty after combing the areas," said Kaziranga park director Surajit Dutta.