ITV News footage shows plight of rhino in India as Prince William prepares to speak out against poaching

Footage obtained by ITV News shows a dead rhino that was killed by poacher lying in Kaziranga National Park, just days before Prince William and his wife Catherine arrived to highlight the plight of the animals.

You can hear hurried footsteps in the forest. Rangers gather around their latest failure.

A dead rhinoceros lies on the jungle floor.

Its mighty grey flanks rise lifelessly from the grass.

There’s a grim looking wound across its snout. Its horn has been sawn off.

This was a greater one-horned rhino - an endangered species, and one that the Indian authorities are desperately trying to protect here in the Kaziranga National Park.

I saw one grazing in the wild yesterday. It was thrilling to see such a magnificent animal in its natural habitat. It’s upsetting to see one cut down and mutilated.

The plight of the rhino is why Prince William is here.

A one-horned rhino in Guwahati. Credit: Reuters

In the battle between the rangers and the poachers, the poachers have had a number of successes recently.

The footage exclusively obtained by ITV News was filmed just three days ago.

The poachers are responding to increased demand. Traffickers in South East Asia are now advertising Indian rhino horn as ‘firehorn’, inventing stories about its increased potency when compared to African horn.

In a recent interview with ITV News, Prince William talked about an issue he clearly regards as an international emergency.

If something is not done to protect animals like the rhino, he fears that they could be extinct within 10 years.

Prince William looks on during his visit to Gandhi Smriti in New Delhi. Credit: Reuters

William’s position on this issue is somewhat complex, and he has been accused of hypocrisy, being a keen hunter himself.

But he maintains that there is a place for commercial hunting, so long as the animals killed are old and infirm, and that the money earned from the enterprise goes into the protection of the species.

Critics say the kind of business the prince describes can’t be regulated.

Here in India, the Duke of Cambridge is going to speak out once more against the trade in rhino horn, and the lies which support it.

The appetite for horn appears insatiable, and short of deploying the army here to go to war with the poachers, bringing an end to the killing will remain a near-impossible job.