Two poachers have been shot dead after committing an act of animal cruelty against a rare rhinoceros at a wildlife sanctuary in the northeastern state of Assam, India.
The Daily Mail reported that a one-horned rhino was found dead in Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, with its horn sawed off and removed.
Forest officials fatally shot two of the eight poachers inside the sanctuary, located about 28 miles east of Guwahati, after an exchange of fire at the scene of the killing.
The poachers went into the sanctuary to hunt down the rhino early Wednesday.
Forest guards heard gunshots at around 1 a.m. and immediately rushed to the scene to encounter two men, who were killed in the ensuing gunfight, while the rest of the poachers ran off with the horn.
Unfortunately, the rhino could not be saved.
“By the time our men could gun down two of the poachers, the others had already managed to escape with the rhino horn,” The Indian Express quoted an official as saying.
Officials found a .303 rifle, 10 rounds of live ammunition, two mobile phones as well as other objects from the two men that were gunned down.
“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 Divisional Forest Officer said.
This is the second such incident in three days and the twelfth encounter in Pobitora this year, according to the Express.
The sanctuary is inhabited by 93 of the world’s estimated 3,000 wild Indian rhinos, which are mainly found in northeastern India and Nepal.