Guwahati, August 10: Forest guards shot dead two poachers in a gun battle in Assam‘s Kaziranga National Park, park officials said Sunday. The incident took place Saturday night, when the guards in an anti-poaching camp inside the park received a tip-off and launched an operation in Agaratoli forest range. After heavy exchange of fire with a group of poachers, the guards shot dead two of them, the officials said.
Two rifles and some ammunition were recovered from the slain poachers. Saturday’s deaths took the tally of poachers killed in the park this year to 15. Poaching has been a major concern in Kaziranga, a Unesco World Heritage Site. Twenty-two one-horned rhinos have been killed by poachers in Assam this year – of which 21 were killed in Kaziranga alone.
Poachers last year killed 41 rhinos – 27 in Kaziranga, five in Manas National Park, three in Orang National Park, 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.