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Amid India virus lockdown, rhino killed by poachers in national park

Amid India virus lockdown, rhino killed by poachers in national park

In Indian Kaziranga National Park, the rare one-horned rhino has been killed as poaching attempts increase during the coronavirus lockdown. On Sunday, the officials have confirmed the intensifying of poachers activity, AFP reports.

The poachers who are hunting for rhino horns, have intensified their cruel activity amid the coronacrisis. As the National Park’s authorities said, the lack of vehicles on the main road near Kaziranga in Assam state making them vulnerable to poachers.

The illegal wildlife trade becomes a direct threat for one-horned rhinos used to live in Kaziranga —home to their world’s biggest population.

“It is suspected that the rhino was killed at least two to three days ago,” the park’s director P. Sivakumar told, adding that the precious animal’s horn was also missing.

The illegal hunters can earn as much as $150,000 for one rhino horn or around $60,000 per kilo on a black market according to Indian media, serving foreign demand for its use in traditional Chinese medicine.

The park authorities said the most alarming thing is they have also recovered eight rounds of empty cartridge of AK 47 automatic rifle. A confirmed poaching incident was registered by the rangers after the killed rhino carcass was found near a water body inside the park.

Officials said it was the first poaching case in the UNESCO-listed heritage site in a year. Previous years had seen numerous poaching incidents.

Over the years, poaching attempts to have increased in and around the park since the start of the nationwide lockdown in late March. In April, more than five attempts to slaughter the rare creatures were thwarted by park rangers and a special rhino protection force set up by the state government.

One-horned rhino as endangered species

The one-horned rhinos used to be widespread in the region but hunting and habitat loss has slashed their numbers to just a few thousand, almost all in the northeastern state of Assam.

Their main haven now is Kaziranga, with 2,413 of the animals living there, according to a 2018 count. The 850-square-kilometre park, created in 1908 after the wife of the British viceroy visited and complained there were no rhinos, is also home to tigers, elephants and panthers.