A third rhino has been killed by poachers in the last 40 days in the Kaziranga National Park in Assam.
The poachers killed the female adult rhino on Tuesday on the westernmost side of Bagori, Divisional Forest Officer of the UNESCO-declared World Heritage Site, S K Seal Sharma, said.
The carcass was found in a pit with its horn removed and other body parts missing.
Soon after hearing gunshots, Forest Department patrol teams rushed towards the bank of the river from where the animal thieves were suspected to have entered the Bagori range.
The horn is estimated to be 500 grammes in weight as the rhino was a 'sub-adult', the DFO said, adding, several cartridge shells of .303 rifle were recovered from between Daflang and Borbeel Forest Camps in Bagori Range.
According to reports, poachers killed the rhino inside the national park using sophisticated weapons and fled with the horn.
According to reports, KNP authorities intensified the security of the park as the poachers have changed their movement pattern taking the waterways from the westernmost side of the Brahmaputra to enter Bagori and Agaratoli ranges as indicated by the recovery of the carcass, nearly 12 km away from Bagori Range Office.
Though a massive search has been launched since Sunday morning, the carcass could not be located till Tuesday as it had fallen into a ditch and was covered by tall grass and water hyacinth, Pradip Phukan, forest beat officer of Borbil-Daflang Beat of KNP said.
On 27 January, an adult male rhino was killed in Kaziranga and its horn taken away by poachers. Last year 17 rhinos were killed by poachers.