A rare one-horned rhino has been killed as poaching attempts increase in Kaziranga National Park in Assam, officials said Sunday.
Because there are fewer vehicles on the highway near the park, the rhinos move toward the boundaries, making them vulnerable to poachers.
“It is suspected that the rhino was killed at least two to three days ago,” the park’s director P. Sivakumar said, adding that the rhino’s horn was also missing.
“We have also recovered eight rounds of empty cartridges of an AK 47” automatic rifle, Sivakumar said. The rhino’s body was found near a water body inside the park.
Poaching attempts have increased in and around the park since the start of the nationwide lockdown in late March.
In April, more than five attempts to slaughter the rare rhinos were prevented by park rangers and a special rhino protection force set up by the state government.
The one-horned rhinos used to be widespread in the region but hunting and habitat loss has slashed their numbers to just a few thousand, almost all in the northeastern state of Assam.
Their main haven now is Kaziranga, with 2413 of the animals living there, according to a 2018 count.
The 850-square-kilometer (330-square-mile) Kaziranga National Park, created in 1908, is also home to tigers, elephants and panthers.
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