Poachers kill this year's first rhino in Assam

Guwahati: Poachers Sunday killed this year's first one-horned rhino in Assam's Kaziranga National Park and took away its horn, officials said.

The rhino was killed in the park's Burhapahar range around 3.30 a.m.

"Gunshots were heard from the Burhapahar range, and our guards launched an operation immediately. But they only recovered the carcass. The poachers took away the horn," an official said.

A rhino was killed Dec 31 in the Orang National park in Darrang district. A home guard, who was deployed in the park, was also killed during the incident.

Over 30 rhinos were killed in Assam last year, most of them in Kaziranga.

The highest number of poaching cases in Assam was in 2013, when 41 rhinos were killed -- 27 in Kaziranga, five in Manas National Park, three in Orang, two in Pabitora wildlife sanctuary and four in other areas.

State Forest and Environment Minister Rockybul Hussain recently informed the assembly that 193 rhinos have been killed by poachers in Assam since 2001.

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