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Rhino Killed In Park Hours After Royals' Safari

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Poachers shot dead a male rhino and removed its horn in an Indian park just hours after Prince William and Kate went on a jeep safari trip there to highlight conservation.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were staying in a lodge in Kaziranga National Park around 12 miles away from the spot where the animal was killed late on Wednesday night.

The couple had also visited the nearby Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) earlier in the day.

Forest rangers found the rhino's carcass along with almost 100 shell casings from an AK-47 on Thursday morning.

Its horn was believed to have been removed to be sold on the black market.

The animal was shot dead less than 10 hours after the royal safari trip.

Standing up in the jeep, William and Kate spotted several rhinos feeding on the verdant flood plain.

Kaziranga divisional forest officer Subhashis Das told the Indian Express newspaper: "One adult male rhino was killed near the Patahi Beel water-body under the Borghop anti-poaching camp in the Burrapahar range.

"The incident occurred at around 11.10pm on Wednesday.

"Our forest guards who rushed to the spot on hearing of gunshots were engaged in an exchange of fire with the poachers, but the culprits managed to escape under the cover of darkness."

It was believed to be the sixth rhino to be killed by poachers in Kaziranga in Assam this year, including one on Monday before the Duke and Duchess had arrived.

Sources were quoted by the paper as saying ordnance factory marks on the cartridges has led to suspicions they could have been among those snatched from security forces by rebel groups in the adjoining Karbi Anglong district.

Extra security was deployed during the royal visit, where the couple helped feed rhino calves with bottled milk at the CWRC sanctuary.

Kaziranga, an area of over 300 square miles, is home to over 2,400 one-horned rhinos.

Last year, 20 rhinos were killed there by poachers for their horns.

They fetch high prices on the black market serving customers in China, Vietnam and other countries where people mistakenly believe eating the horns can increase a man's potency.

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