A forest official and a villager were critically injured in two separate incidents when two stray rhinos attacked them in north Assam’s Lakhimpur district.
Forest officials said Forest Ranger Pranjal Kakati seriously injured when a rhino strayed from Kaziranga National Park (KNP) attacked him at Panbari in Narayanpur area of the district.
In another incident, Poya Tayung, a resident of Sengeleesuti village, was injured when he along with forest workers tried to chase the stray rhino to the park.
The two adult rhinos have strayed out of Kaziranga National Park and caused panic in the villages which it has been moving through in Narayanpur area.
They were spotted first on Sunday morning at Lagachu Chapori in Lohit-Khabolu riverine area of Lakhimpur district. The forest department personnel arrived at the area tried to chase them to KNP.
On Monday the stray rhinos entered Panbari and Chaudhapunia area of Narayanpur causing panic among the villagers. A team of forest personnel tried to chase them using crackers.
But one rhino attacked the forest Ranger Pranjal Kakati injuring him seriously. Later the stray animals moved towards Jamugurighat of the district.
Two domestic buffaloes also lost their lives in the attack caused by the two stray rhinos. According to forest department officials , one rhino is presently in Dhenu Chapori in Majuli district and the other one at Jamuguri Chapori in Lakhimpur district.
Two rhinos strayed out of the Park are now under serious threat from poachers. Forest staff said the areas where the rhinos are sheltering are vulnerable to attacks by poachers.
“Staff from both Kaziranga and Sonitpur East forest division are maintaining round-the-clock vigil to protect the rhinos. We are trying to chase them to the park periphery as soon as possible,” said an official.
It is a regular practice of rhinos in Kaziranga to go outside the park during winter in search of food. But, the poachers always take advantage of it.