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Another rhino killed, toll 4

Jorhat, Feb. 1: Poachers killed another rhino and took away its horn near the Matalung forest camp of Agaratoli range of Kaziranga National Park this morning. This takes the toll of rhinos poached in the park this year to four. Three were killed last month.

Selim Ahmed, ranger, Agaratoli range, said the male rhino was shot around 7.50am, about 2.5km from the forest camp.

“Guards heard the sound of shots at 7.50am but by the time they arrived, the poachers had fled with the horn. Empty cartridges of .303 rifle were recovered from the spot,” Ahmed said.

The ranger further said though the place was near the Brahmaputra, the poachers had most probably come by road.

The Agaratoli range is famous for its water bodies and the large number of birds, many migratory, which can be sighted during winter.

Another poacher, Hensing Kransa, was arrested on Monday in connection with the poaching of a rhino at the Burapahar range last Saturday.

Jinaram Bordoloi, ranger at Burapahar, said the sniffer dog Jorba had first traced the trail to Ratna Gowala of Amguri village near the range. Gowala identified Kransa as the person who had taken him to shoot the rhino.

“Kransa is being questioned and a handmade gun has been recovered from his possession,” Bordoloi said.

Poachers had struck for the first time this year on January 8 by shooting and injuring a male rhino that had strayed from Panpur Ghat area under Panpur camp at Goribeel on the northern bank of the Brahmaputra in Sonitpur district. The rhino succumbed to its injuries the next day despite medical treatment by park authorities. The poachers could not take away its horn.

The second, a female sub-adult rhino was shot and killed at Panpur ghat area on January 17 and the poachers had gouged out its horn.