Forest guard fires at rhinos in self defence, hits female rhino

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Guwahati, July 29 (IANS) A a female one-horned rhino was injured when a personnel of the elite Assam Forest Protection Force (AFPF) opened fire on it in self-defence when it charged at him near the state’s famous Kaziranga National Park, officials said on Friday.

Park officials said their teams including veterinarians are trying their best to attend to the injured female rhino.

The incident took place on Thursday evening in Jagadamba tea estate, located close to the park. The tea estate which is spread along the borders of Nagaon and Karbi Anglong districts of the state is notorious for poaching activities and several cases had taken place in the area in the past.

“A female rhino with a calf entered the tea estate due to the high flood inside Kaziranga national park. After being intimated by the local people that the rhinos have strayed out of the park, we engaged two personnel of the AFPF to track the rhino so that poachers cannot target the rhinos,” said a senior park official.

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He said that the two AFPF personnel while tracking the rhinos suddenly went very close to the rhinos, which led the female rhino to charge towards the guards. “While one of them could manage to escape, another one fired from his automatic weapon to scare away the rhino and to save his life,” said the official, adding that unfortunately two bullets hit the female rhino.

“It is alive and our veterinarians have been trying to attend to its injuries. However, so far they have not been able to tranquilize the rhino. We are going to resume the rescue operation tomorrow (Saturday) morning,” he said.

A forest guard had last month fired from his weapon to scare away a rhino inside the park, but hit minor Akash Orang. The forest department has now been bearing all the expenses for the treatment of the injured child.

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