The Assam floods might have receded, but the horrors are far from over. Close to 110 animal carcasses have been found at The Kaziranga National Park, and the number is expected to rise as more damage is investigated. By Bayar Jain
Home to over two-thirds of the world’s total population of one-horned rhinos, the World Heritage site Kaziranga National Park (KNP) has not been spared by the second wave of floods that hit Assam. Over the past few days, all the 430 sq kms of the park remained submerged in close to four feet of water. As a result, 110 animal carcasses have been found, ten of which are the endangered one-horned rhinos. Further, 77 hog deer died due to drowning during treatment at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC). Exhaustion is another reason.
Additionally, seven sambhars, six wild boars, five swamp deer, two porcupines, one elephant, and one wild buffalo also lost their lives, either due to drowning or due to collision with vehicles while escaping the park. A large bulk of the casualties comprises of calves.
Those who survived the floods are far from safe though. These innocent creatures are left fending for themselves in a land now devoid of natural vegetation. Entire herds have been wiped out leaving many animals helpless, raising the stakes for more exhaustion related deaths.
Although the situation in Assam has improved, 65% of the National Park continues to remain submerged in water. Moreover, 53 of the 199 anti-poaching camps are still flooded. However, this drop in water levels paves way for more focused animal rescue operations. It provides authorities the possibility of venturing into the depths of the forest which were hampered due to the floods. According to reports, a tigress who escaped the floods and managed to seek refuge in a vegetable garden nearby was rescued and moved back to the Karbi Anglong Forest Area at night.