Flood triggers animal migration from Kaziranga National Park

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HT Correspondent

GOHPUR, July 12:Animals from the Kaziranga National Park have started coming out in herds in search of elevated grounds as large swathe of the protected area has been inundated by the rising water of the Brahmaputra.

Forest officials said that over 60 percent of area of Kaziranga is currently under water with rising of water from the Brahmaputra on the northern edge kept engulfing the park since Tuesday.

During flood, risk of poaching increases manifold as poachers are always on a look out for killing rhino and wild animals once the animal comes out of the inundated Park.

On Friday, large herds of different species of deer from Kaziranga struggled through the flood water for reaching highlands in the neighbouring villages of Gohpur by crossing the river Brahmaputra, which passes along the southern edge of the Park.

Kaziranga houses large population of Eastern swamp deer, barking deer and hog deer. Eastern swamp deer, only found in Kaziranga, alone is estimated to be over 1000.

In their desperate move to find drylands, one seriously injured hog deer was rescued by in Teleni, Gohpur and handed over to the nearest forest officials. A huge number of villages of Gohpur are as- Bakori-Dalani, Thutechapori, Lohitmukh, Bartamuli, Sarutamuli, Pakeng, Kaboimari, Hatijan etc tragically affected by the flood. People are shifted to the highland in road.

In 2012 flood, which was the worst deluge for Kaziranga in 20 years, an estimated 625 animals perished. Hog deer suffered the highest casualty with about 500 of them killed either due to drowning or hitting by vehicles.

Deer are the first among other animal species which generally starts leaving the park for high grounds when the intensity of flood increases. Rhinos, wild buffaloes, tigers and elephants also join the animal migration when the flood level becomes unbearable for them.

Ironically, while flood is a bane for the state, it is a boon for Kaziranga’s ecosystem. Being located on the floodplains of Brahmaputra, the annual deluge recharges the ecology of the park by infusing fresh water to its numerous water bodies and triggering fresh growth of grasslands.

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