Rare one-horned rhinos poached in India

2012-09-29 20:36
Officials stand near a rare one-horn rhinoceros which was dehorned by poachers in the north-eastern Indian state of Assam. (AP Photo)

Officials stand near a rare one-horn rhinoceros which was dehorned by poachers in the north-eastern Indian state of Assam. (AP Photo)

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Guwahati - Two rare rhinos brutally attacked by poachers this week in northeast India have died, veterinarians said on Saturday, triggering protests at local authorities' failure to protect the animals.

The one-horned rhinos were found bleeding from gunshot injuries and huge wounds on their snouts after poachers cut off their horns, nose and ears in the flooded Kaziranga national park in Assam state.

"Both the rhinos died late Friday," Bhaskar Dutta, one of the veterinarians involved in the effort to help the animals, told AFP from Assam's largest city Guwahati.

The two rhinos, listed as a "vulnerable" species, had been mutilated as they fled rising floodwaters in the park.

Animal rights groups and residents near the state-protected park staged protests denouncing the government for failing to combat poaching. They blocked highways and burnt effigies of the state forest minister.

"It's a tragedy that even after 72 hours, vets failed to reach the injured rhino while local TV channels were beaming live images of the helpless animals," said Sanjiv Das, a community leader in Kaziranga.

"We want an explanation from the state government about why they could not treat the two rhinos and save them."

The 430-square-kilometre park in eastern Assam is home to the largest concentration of the world's remaining one-horned rhinos.

Kaziranga has fought a sustained battle against rhino poachers who kill the animals for their horns, which fetch huge prices in some Asian countries where they are prized for their supposed aphrodisiac and medicinal qualities.

Read more on:    india  |  animals  |  rhino poaching  |  poaching
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