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Rhino carcass in farmer backyard

OUR CORRESPONDENT
Dergaon, Dec. 28: The carcass of a rhino that had stayed from Kaziranga National Park a few days ago was dug out today from a farmer’s backyard some 25km away.

Apart from the horn, poachers have taken away the tail, nails and ears of the female rhino, suspected to have been killed nearly three days back. The carcass bore two bullet marks.

This is the first time that a rhino has been buried in a pit after being killed.

Though the farmer, Gobendra Pegu, was interrogated about the carcass, the police refused to divulge further details.

“Three rhinos had strayed out of the park on Thursday. While one came back, there was no news of the other two. The carcass of one was recovered today,” the director of the park, Surendra Buragohain, said.

With one more rhino still outside the park, forest officials fear that poachers may also target this animal.

Buragohain said forest rangers try to keep a watch on the rhinos, which stray out of the park, but it is difficult to follow these animals all the time.

A forest official said police and forest personnel launched a joint operation today following specific information that a rhino was shot dead by poachers a few days back.

“After launching a search, we found marks of newly dug earth in the backyard of a house. After digging up the yard, we found the carcass, which has still not decomposed,” a forest official said.

Carbide was used to quicken the decomposition process in the seven-foot deep pit.

Robin Saikia, the veterinarian who conducted the post-mortem, estimated that the rhino was killed nearly 72 hours ago.

A source said a group of poachers was seen in Bonkowal near the park a few days ago and forest guards with the help of the police were conducting joint operations in the area since they received the information.

This is the tenth rhino falling prey to poachers this year. While seven rhinos were killed inside the park, three were killed outside.

Apart from these, 53 rhinos died because of natural causes and 20 calves were killed by tigers this year.
 
Source: The Telegraph, Guwahati, Monday , December 29 , 2008