Jorhat, Feb 27 (PTI): First, the bad news: Three elephants were killed when a local passenger train mowed through a herd in upper Assam's Jorhat district on Thursday.
The good news: In Kaziranga National park, forest guards shot dead two poachers before they could kill any rhinos on Thursday.
The Guwahati-Tinsukia Intercity Express hit the elephants as they were crossing the railway track at Venuguri village near Moriani Railway Station in a herd, officials said.
The elephants were returning to their nearby habitat, Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary.
While an adult elephant was cut into pieces, a calf died after it was hurled about 500 metres away due to the mishap. Another adult elephant was found dead near the train track, they said.
Train movement was briefly disrupted on the route.
A tiger that strayed from a sanctuary was also recently killed after being hit by a train while another elephant was also killed at the place about six months ago.
In Kaziranga’s Bagori Range, five poachers opened fire when they came face to face with a forest patrol. In the exchange of fire, two poachers were killed on the spot, the sources said.
A search operation has been launched to track down the three poachers who had escaped.
Meanwhile, the rhino that fell into a mud pit at the Kaziranga park and was unable to be rescued for the entire day died at on Wednesday night.
Krishak Mukti Sangram Parishad supporters blocked the adjacent highway for three hours on Wednesday to protest against the alleged negligence of the forest department in handling the matter.
The locals claimed that they had made an attempt to rescue the animal. The rhino died at around 10.45pm and forest department officials removed its horn on Thursday morning, they said.
With this, four rhinos were found dead in the park this year, including three killed by poachers.