Wildlife threatened as floods devastate India reserve
Guwahati, July 22: Every year, Indians wait with bated breath for monsoons to bring respite from the scorching summer. And nearly every year, the rains come with a fury that takes a huge human toll and devastates wildlife.
This year too, Assam, which is known for diverse wildlife, is battling the rains to save its precious rhinoceros population. The number of animal casualties in Kaziranga National Park has gone up to 141, after 31 more bodies, including two rhino carcasses were found on Saturday.
101 hog deer, one of the smallest deer species, have also perished. Nine wild boar, nine sambar, six swamp deer, two porcupine, one elephant and one wild buffalo also died due to the floods.
Approx 95% of Kaziranga National Park (home to the endangered one-horned rhinos) has been flooded. Animals were seen almost submerged in water as reported by the Forest Officials. The floodwater has also affected 155 of the 199 anti-poaching camps of the national park.
A video shared by Parveen Kaswan of the IFS (Indian Forest Service) shows the plight of wild animals in Kaziranga. Deer waded through deep waters in the sanctuary while rhino calves found it difficult to survive.
Pictures of rhinos trying to reach higher grounds at the Kaziranga National Park has surfaced on Thursday, while a tiger had wandered off the sanctuary and entered a home near the national highway - 200m from the park.
In order to escape the flooded Kaziranga, animals are trying to cross the busy highway and reach the nearby Karbi hills. But some of them lost their lives in traffic accidents while crossing the highway. Citing local media reports, AFP reported that more than 50 wild animals have died so far.
Rescue teams, meanwhile, are using boats to traverse the park to save stranded animals. "It had been a long time since this type of flood has affected Kaziranga National Park," Pradut Goswami, forest ranger, told AFP.
Kaziranga National Park situated on the floodplains of the mighty Brahmaputra river. The park is home to around 2,400 rhinos, 800 swamp deer, 1,000 elephants, over 1,000 wild buffaloes, more than 100 tigers as well as 500 species of resident and migratory birds.