Fifth rhino falls to poachers in Assam this year

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Guwahati, Feb 5 (UNI) Suspected poachers this morning killed yet another rhino inside the Kaziranga National Park, taking the total toll this year to five, amid a widespread clamour from various quarters for stringent measures to protect the endangered animal.

The 'grown-up' male rhino was killed in the Central Kohra Range in the wee hours, park's director Suren Buragohain told UNI over phone.

Forest guards at a nearby camp heard gunshots, prompting them to retaliate, but the poachers managed to flee with the horn, Mr Buragohain said.

Forest guards have launched raids in the nearby suspected areas in a bid to recover the horn and track down the poachers.

This is the fifth rhino to be killed in the state this year and the third inside the pristine Kaziranga National Park.

On January 19, poachers brutally mutilated the horn of a female rhino and left the full-grown animal and its baby to die after two days.

Significantly, on February 2, in the aftermath of the January 19 incident, an expert committee submitted a report to the state government suggesting ways to check poaching and other illegal activities inside the park.

State Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain had then claimed that security measures inside the park have been enhanced.

Last year, 13 rhinos were poached inside the park even as conservationists and wildlife lovers continue to raise a hue and cry over the increasing incidents of poaching and the failure of the authorities to curb the menace.

UNI SG DPM MS RAI1209

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