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Indian park battles poachers targeting rhino horn

Anupam Nath / AP

Tourists watch a one-horned rhinoceros inside the Kaziranga National Park, a wildlife reserve that provides refuge to more than 2,200 endangered Indian one-horned rhinoceros, in the northeastern Indian state of Assam.

Anupam Nath / AP

A one-horned rhinoceros stands inside the Kaziranga National Park.

Anupam Nath / AP

Forest guards patrol inside the Kaziranga National Park.

The Associated Press reports from Kaziranga, India — Out of the early morning mists and tall grass of northeast India emerges a massive creature with a dinosaur-like face, having survived millions of years despite a curse — literally on its head. As elephant-borne riders approach, the formidable hulk sniffs the air for danger, then resumes its breakfast.

This is Kaziranga, refuge to more than 2,200 endangered Indian rhinoceros and one of the world's best-protected wildlife reserves. But even here, where rangers follow shoot-to-kill orders, poachers are laying siege to "Fortress Kaziranga," attempting to sheer off the animals' horns to supply a surge in demand for purported medicine in China that's pricier than gold. At least 18 rhino fell to poachers in and around the park in 2012, compared to 10 in all of India in 2011. Read the full story.

 

Anupam Nath / AP

A two-and-half-month old male orphan one-horned rhinoceros calf rescued during recent floods walks at a rehabilitation center inside the Kaziranga National Park.

Anupam Nath / AP

A one-horned rhinoceros wades in water as a forest guard stands nearby inside the Kaziranga National Park.

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