Rhino shot, poachers held at Kaziranga

Tezpur: A female rhino was killed on Sunday night under Bagori range of Kaziranga National Park. The poachers fled without taking its horn.

The incident took place at Daflang anti-poaching camp. Divisional forest officer Rohini Ballav Saikia said the poachers killed the female rhino at 9pm but were unable to take its horn as forest officials immediately reached the location on hearing gunshots.

He said that a search operation has been launched to track the poachers.

Poachers held: Three poachers were earlier arrested by northern range officials at Kaziranga National Park from a hotel under Behali police station on Sunday night.

Of the three, two are Arunachali, who came to strike a deal on rhino horn from a Borgang line hotel under Behali police station in Biswanath district.

According to official sources, based on information [provided by the poachers, forest officials arrested another accused, Moina Bora, from Rajgarh in Gohpur. Bora is a local dealer in rhino horn, Tokey gecko (keku), body parts of endangered wild animals, arms and ammunition.

From the mobile phones of the three arrested persons, forest officials retrieved records of such transactions in illegal wildlife parts. There are more persons engaged in the racket in wildlife trade.

Pranjal Boruah, ranger in sixth addition of Kaziranga National Park, told this correspondent that Songoi Tahu alias Sanga is the leader of the team. It supplied weapons and tranquillizers, rubber dinghy and equipment to the poachers of Biswanath, Tezpur and Lakhimpur district.

He said that earlier, forest officials also recovered a huge quantity of arms and ammunition in February and September last year from the poachers of Biswanath. They were caught red-handed while trying to enter the park to poach rhinos.

Earlier, they arrested three poachers Nur Hussain, Hajarat Ali alias Busha and Motibur Rahman. The forest department was trying to arrest arms supplier and shooter Sobgoi Tahu alias Sanga for last four months.

PRANAB KUMAR DAS Telegraph India

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