Sources say a female rhino was left bleeding by poachers who chopped off its horn and cut off a part of its right ear after shooting the animal, which had entered Karbi hills in Assam's Golaghat district on Tuesday, Sept 25.
The rhino had earlier took shelter in Karbi hills to protect itself from increasing flood waters inside the park. An official of the park said that efforts were on to save the rhino.
In a sad reminder that animals are not safe from poachers, Kaziranga National Park has lost four rhinos in recent floods. Infact, 14 rhinos have been killed by poachers this year.
"Poachers are always on the prowl for rhinos during floods. When the animals move out of the park in search of elevated ground, they became an easy target for poachers. Despite stepping up vigilance, poachers have managed to kill the rhinos," a park official said.
As the news spread, members of All Assam Students Union, Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad and Kaziranga Suraksha Samiti and residents blocked the National Highway 37, which passes through the park, and burnt the effigies of Forest Minister Rakibul Hussain and Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.
The World Conservation Congress under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which concluded at Jeju Island in Korea on Sept 15, had passed a resolution calling for more protection for rhinos. It noted that in India, this would require concerted action from the Centre and the state governments of Assam, West Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.