75% areas of Kaziranga under water, govt cancels leaves of forest staff

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HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, July 13: The situation in the Kaziranga National Park has turned grim with 75 per cent of the park area reeling under flood water and the animals are taking shelter near highlands in and around the park. This has compelled the authorities to cancel all leaves of all forest officials and guards working in the national park.

Assam forest minister Parimal Suklabaidya has directed the forest department to cancel all leaves of the forest staff and ground staff during the flood season.

“We are facing lot of problems and the forest ground staff are trying to stop any animal casualty during the flood. We introduced time card on the National Highway passing through the park to prevent any accident as the animals are crossing the road while water level increased in the park,” an official statement of forest minister said here Saturday.

The authorities also issued advisory for vehicles moving on NH37 bordering the southern part of the park. During high floods, some animals cross the highway to go to the higher grounds in Karbi Anglong district which is on the other side of NH37.

The vehicles passing through the park area from Jakhalabandha to Numaligarh have been asked to maintain a speed limit of 40km/hour for the safety of the animals.

Animals, including the world famous one-horned rhinos, are reportedly taking shelter in highlands as the park was submerged in water earlier this week. The Brahmaputra, which constitutes northern boundary of the park, is flowing above the danger mark.

In the 2017, over 360 animals drowned due to floods in Kaziranga, of which 31 were rhinos, according to official data.

The park, which is the home to world’s largest one-horned rhino population, is closed for tourists in May so that the officials can prepare for the rainy season that starts from June.

A total of 95 forest camps have been affected in the second wave of flood in the national park.

Meanwhile, a hog deer was killed after being hit by a vehicle at Bagori area under the national park while the animal was trying to cross the National Highway 37.

 

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