Guwahati, Oct 14 (IANS) A rhino is struggling for life after poachers shot at the animal and chopped off its horn in Assam's Kaziranga National Park, forest officials said Sunday.
Forest guards launched a hunt for the attackers after hearing gunshots in the forest Saturday afternoon.
However, the profusely bleeding rhino was found only on Sunday morning.
A team of veterinarians was treating the rhino but its chances of survival were bleak, said a park official.
"The animal is unlikely to survive since it has lost a vital organ and has bled severely. It also received two bullet injuries," said forest conservator S. Bora.
"Some people heard gunshots from the Agaratoli range of the park and we launched a combing operation immediately," Bora said.
A .303 rifle was also found in the area.
The daring attack on the rhino comes three days after Environment and Forests Minister Jayanthi Natarajan visited Kaziranga following a spurt in incidents of rhino poaching there.
She said Wednesday that the government would provide an unmanned aircraft and a surveillance system to protect the rhinos and other wildlife from poachers.
She also announced a grant of Rs.1 crore to repair damages caused to the park by the recent floods.
Assam forest department says that till September this year, 39 rhinos were killed, 11 of them by poachers.
Assam announced a Rs.five lakh bounty for information on poachers in Kaziranga and other protected areas. It also said that the CBI would inquire into the incidents of rhino poaching in the state.