Jorhat, Aug. 4: The forest department has launched a massive hunt along the banks of the Brahmaputra to locate a rhino, which had strayed out of Kaziranga National Park with two others a few months ago.
While the hornless carcass of one of the rhinos was recovered yesterday from a chapori (sand bar) near Majuli, another had died after being attacked by villagers along the Majuli-Lakhimpur border a couple of months back.
“We have launched a hunt to locate the third rhino which before the floods was seen near a forest area in Jorhat district,” a forest official said.
The post-mortem conducted on the carcass recovered yesterday revealed the rhino had died of bullet injuries and may have been killed by poachers.
The official said forest staff had been constantly monitoring the movement of the two rhinos, which had been moving along the bank of the Brahmaputra in Jorhat and Golaghat district.
“But we failed to locate the animals after flood water submerged vast areas along the river.”
The forest department was informed by villagers a few days back that they had heard gunshots near Mulai Kathoni, a forest area along the riverbank here. “We immediately launched a search in the area and managed to locate the carcass yesterday at Kartik chapori. The rhino’s horn was missing,” the official said.
Forest staff had made several attempts to chase back the three rhinos to Kaziranga, after they were first spotted in the district but failed to do so. While one rhino crossed the Brahmaputra and took shelter in Majuli, the other two were seen moving in Jorhat and Golaghat districts. The forest department had retrieved the horn of the rhino which was killed by villagers along the Majuli-Lakhimpur border.
The forest official said during the search operation today, a herd of elephant was also located near Mulai Kathoni. The herd, which has damaged several houses in the area in the last few days, has been taking shelter in the forest.