Two killed after poaching rhino | india | Hindustan Times
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Two killed after poaching rhino

Forest guards killed two poachers in Assam’s Orang National Park after they had felled a female rhino and chopped off its horn late Saturday night. One of them, identified as Hormuz Ali, had carried a price on his head, reports Rahul Karmakar.

india Updated: Oct 18, 2009 21:20 IST

Forest guards killed two poachers in Assam’s Orang National Park after they had felled a female rhino and chopped off its horn late Saturday night. One of them, identified as Hormuz Ali, had carried a price on his head.

The poachers, officials said, had struck during Diwali festivities in fringe villages hoping that the din of crackers would neutralize the sound of their guns.

“Past experiences taught us to be extra vigilant on Diwali night. But before we could get to the gang of poachers around 11 pm, they had killed the rhino,” Orang DFO Sushil K Daila told HT. The 74 sq km park, perhaps more vulnerable than Kaziranga National Park bang across the river Brahmaputra, is 140 km from state capital Guwahati.

“Two others escaped, but Ali had been a major headache. He had earlier been caught but released after three months in prison. We recovered the rhino horn from the dead poachers, the axe they hacked it with and some cartridges of a .303 rifle,” Daila said.

This was the fifth rhino killed in Orang this year. The past few months also saw ‘revenge killing’ (the act of villagers poisoning carcass of cattle killed by big cats) claim a Royal Bengal tiger.

“There are hardly any tigers left in the park to be killed,” said environmentalist Firoz Ahmed. His sarcasm was understandable: Latest camera trapping survey estimated the tiger population in Orang at seven compared to 19 in 2000.

This year also saw poachers killing 10 rhinos and two of the eight Royal Bengal tigers that died in Kaziranga.