Poachers killed a rhino and removed its horns at the Kaziranga National Park in Assam on Saturday.
Forty two rhinos have so far been killed by poachers and by floods at the Kaziranga National Park in Golaghat district of Assam.
At around 1.10 pm on Saturday, forest guards at Sohola camp in Agoratoli range of the park heard gun shots and immediately launched an operation in the area, said KNP Divisional Forest Officer Dibyadhar Gogoi.
A fierce encounter followed, with the poachers exchanging bullets with the guards, Gogoi said. When the forest personnel searched around, they found the carcass of a rhino with its horn removed, he said.
A 303 rifle with ammunition belonging to the poachers was recovered from the area, the DFO said.'
The blood stains seen in the flood water inside the park were suspected to have been of wounded poachers who fled with the horn.
Gogoi said the poachers had taken advantage of the inclement weather, with incessant rainfall in the park for the last two days.
Meanwhile, patrolling has been intensified inside and around the park and a search operation has been launched to nab the culprits, he added.
The last incident of poaching was reported on Monday, when a rhino was killed at Hatidandi Gobin Gaon in Kaziranga, and poachers tried to remove its horn.
Union Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan had visited KNP on Wednesday and announced a special package of Rs one crore for the park.