Jorhat: A rhino has been killed by poachers, the third such case in the last 40 days in Kaziranga National Park of Assam, a senior forest official said on Tuesday.
The poachers killed the female adult rhino in the early hours on Monday on the westernmost side of Bagori, Divisional Forest Officer of the UNESCO declared World Heritage Site S.K. Seal Sharma said.
The carcass was recovered with its horn removed and other body parts missing from a pit, Seal Sharma said.
Soon after hearing gunshots, Forest Department patrol teams rushed towards the bank of the river from where the the animal thieves were suspected to have entered the Bagori range.
The horn is estimated to be 500 grams in weight as the rhino was a 'sub-adult', the DFO said, adding, several cartridge shells of .303 rifle were recovered from between Daflang and Borbeel Forest Camps in Bagori Range.
Though a massive search has been launched since Sunday morning, the carcass could not be located till Tuesday as it had fallen into a ditch and was covered by tall grass and water hyacinths, Pradip Phukan, forest beat officer of Borbil-Daflang Beat of KNP said.
Meanwhile, KNP authorities intensified the security of the park as the poachers have changed their movement pattern taking the waterways from the westernmost side of the Brahmaputra to enter Bagori and Agaratoli ranges as indicated by the recovery of the carcass, nearly 12 km away from Bagori Range Office.
On 27 January last, an adult male rhino was killed in Kaziranga and its horn taken away by poachers.
Last year 17 rhinos were killed by poachers.