Poachers in India’s Kaziranga National Park shot dead a rhinoceros April 13, in what was the second such killing in three days.
The male rhino was killed hours after Britain’s Prince William and his wife, Duchess Kate, had been on a safari tour in the park, according to the Daily Mail.
The poachers used AK-47 assault rifles to carry out the killing. Rangers said they heard gunfire around 11:10 p.m..
A total of 88 spent AK-47 cartridges were found near the scene.
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The rhino’s horn, which is a highly-prized product in countries like China and Vietnam, had been cut off, guards said.
At the time of the attack, park security guards had been diverted to make arrangements for the royal couple’s stay, according to The Hindustan Times.
“It is war against poachers and sometime we win, but many times we lose due to scarcity of resources,” said M.K. Yadava, former director of the park, according to the Mail.
The killing came just three days after a female rhino was shot by poachers and her horn sawn off in Kaziranga. Officials did not expect her to survive, even though she was alive several hours after the attack.
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"We have noticed that a lot of times when the horn is sawed off, the skull is also fractured," a veterinary surgeon who has performed many postmortems on rhinos told NDTV. "This means the rhino’s final hours are spent in such excruciating pain that you and I can perhaps not even begin to comprehend.”
Poachers have shot and killed six rhinos this year in the sanctuary, and a total of 20 were killed in 2015, reports the Mail.
Reports suggest extremist militants based in the surrounding area are supporting the poachers.
The state government in Assam, a state in northeast India, has talked about arming a force to protect the park’s rhinos. Drone surveillance has even been suggested.
Kaziranga National Park has the world's largest population of the rare one-horned rhino, with approximately 2,500 living there.