Guwahati: The world heritage site of Kaziranga National Park has been the worst affected in the second wave of floods that has hit Assam with over 50% of the protected area still being submerged, said reports.
As per reports, 187 wild animals including, hog deer, rhino, elephant, swamp deer, water buffalo, sambar, wild boar and porcupines have died in the floods that hit the national park in the past few days. However, the rescue and relief teams of the state forest department and other wildlife agencies have successfully retrieved nearly about 64 animals that were stranded and injured inside the national park.
As per a statement released by the environment and forest department of Assam, at least 155 animals have died of drowning in the flood waters — the highest death of wild animals inhabiting inside the wildlife park so far.
Despite speed restrictions being put into effect on National Highway 37 that passes through the national park stretching from Jhakhalabandha in Nagaon to Bokakhat in Golaghat district, a total of 16 wild animals died after being hit by vehicles while crossing the road in search of food and higher grounds.
Meanwhile, teams from the state forest department and Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) along with the help of local people rescued nearly 64 wild animals from different locations in and around the national park. A total of 52 rescued animals were released to safer grounds after providing proper treatment by the authorities concerned, five of them died on arrival or during treatment at CWRC while the remaining eight are still undergoing treatments at the rehabilitation centres.
The state forest and environment department in its statement further said that a total of 27 out of the 199 camps are submerged under the flood waters. However, the water level in the Kaziranga National Park has gradually receded with a fall of about 162 cm reported in the past days.
Assam governor Jagdish Mukhi made an aerial visit of the national park to take stock of the devastation caused by flood in the National Park on Sunday.
The governor, accompanied by the state forest minister Parimal Suklabaidya and high-level officials of the district administration visited the flood-affected Kohora range of the national park and took stock of the prevailing situation there.
Forest officials engaged in the rescue and rehabilitation works in the national park were briefed the governor of the situation and the extent of damage caused to the flora and fauna of the park.
Governor Mukhi appreciated the state department’s work, especially of making raised platforms of highland for the shelter of animals in the critical situations. He further added that there is a need to have more such raised highland so that animals during floods can take shelter in these highlands which would greatly help in minimising death and casualty of the animals.
He also directed the health department officials to provide medical facilities to the inmates of the camp in addition of keeping strict vigilance against the possible outbreak of any epidermic.
After conducting a review meeting with officials of the national park, minister Suklabaidya informed that the water level has gradually receded and total of 50 to 60% of the wildlife park is reeling under the flood waters.
“Strict vigilance initiated by the concerned authorities has also resulted in less number of animal deaths in vehicle hit incidents,” he added.
Speaking on the overall condition and policies adopted by the authority on protection and restoration of biodiversity in the park, Kaziranga National Park director Karmashree P Shivakumar said that the wildlife park was hit by one of the worst floods in the recent years but it was also one of the best managed field conditions.
“We started a good preparation to face any kind of eventualities during flood since the month of April this year and also conducted many awareness programme about rescue operations with the help of NGOs across all the ranges since then,” he said.