Guwahati: Assam forest department guards killed two poachers in Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park on Monday night, officials said on Tuesday.
The poacher duo killed while amid an ongoing debate on the stringent measures adopted by the state forest department to prevent poaching incidents in the state.
The incident took place near Baghmari forest camp in the national park, located nearly 150 km from Guwahati, following fierce gun fight between forest guards and a group of poachers.
According to the reports, forest guards came to meet with a poacher group while on their routine patrolling on Monday night near Baghmari forest camp.
"The poachers had started firing at the forest guards and heavy rounds of bullets exchanged from both sides in which two poachers killed on spot," a top official of the state forest department said.
Other members of the poacher group had managed to escape from the area with support from darkness.
Forest guards had recovered two 303 rifles, ammunition in possession from the slain poachers, whose identities are yet to be ascertained.
Meanwhile Assam forest minister Pramila Rani Brahma said that, the forest guards are engaged in the anti-poaching measures to protect wild animals in the state.
"It is a good result of the ongoing anti-poaching measures taken by the state forest department. I am appreciating the DFO of Orang National Park and other forest guards for their hardworking activities," Pramila Rani Brahma said.
The Assam forest minister further said that, the poachers had changed their routes to the Orang National Park, following stringent measures taken by the forest department in Kaziranga National Park to prevent poaching and protect wild animals including one horned rhinoceros.
"We have taken adequate measures to protect wild animals in all national parks, sanctuaries. The state forest department also decided to use drones in Kaziranga and other parks, sanctuaries," Pramila Rani Brahma said.
Assam has lost over 240 rhinos in past one and half decades which were poached.
In past a decade, forest guards killed more than 70 poachers in the state.
(Reporting by Hemanta Kumar Nath)