Two poachers were shot dead on Wednesday by forest guards during a gun battle at Pobitora wildlife sanctuary after the gang killed an adult female rhino — a second such incident in three days and the twelfth this year.
Dibyadhar Gogoi, Guwahati wildlife division DFO, said the incident occurred at Tuplung anti-poaching camp inside the sanctuary at around 12.15 am, when forest guards rushed to the spot on hearing gunshots and were engaged in an encounter with the poachers.
“By the time our men could gun down two of the poachers, the others had already managed to escape with the rhino horn,” the official said. Around eight poachers have been killed by forest guards since January this year.
The officials have recovered one .303 rifle, 10 rounds of live ammunition, two mobile phones along with objects from the two slain outlaws.
“A driving licence recovered from one of the dead poachers was issued in Churachandpur district in Manipur. Meanwhile, the police have started investigations based on the call-list of the two mobile phones that we have recovered,” the DFO said. ]
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Earlier on Saturday, poachers had shot dead a rhino at Kaziranga National Park and removed its horn. The carcass of the animal was found on Sunday. Two poachers were also gunned down in a separate incident on Saturday.
Assam lost around 40 rhinos to poachers in 2013, of which 35 were killed in Kaziranga alone.
Can’t stop traffic along Kaziranga: Assam to NGT
Guwahati: Traffic on National Highway 37 (now NH-715) along Kaziranga National Park cannot be stopped for five hours everyday despite the government’s highest concern for saving rhinos and other wildlife, Assam on Wednesday informed the National Green Tribunal in New Delhi. The NGT had last week directed the Assam government to stop movement of vehicles on six sections of NH-715 for five hours every day, keeping in view the peak animal activity in these sectors during those hours.
Stopping traffic on NH37 would affect lives of people not only in Golaghat district in Assam but also of people from Nagaland and Manipur, the state government said in an affidavit to NGT. Moreover, shutting down the NH would mean death knell for the tourism industry in the area, it said. ENS