Kaziranga: A handful of one horn rhinos, deer and wild buffalos struggle for space on a narrow patch of highland. This is a common sight during floods at the Kaziranga National Park in Assam, where over 80 per cent of the land is currently under water. Last year, the state government had promised to build highlands inside the park for better animal refuge, but, the promise was half-kept.
- The government had last year promised to build highlands in Kaziranga
- 80 per cent of the land is flooded in the national park
- Animals like rhinos, deer and wild buffaloes are struggling for space
On Thursday, 17 hog deer were rescued from the park.
Almost 300 animals had drowned last year during floods here which prompted the Assam government to build 33 more highlands. However, an investigation by NDTV found that only 50 per cent of the work has been competed - leaving the forest guards and wild animals at peril.
"Floods have hit the place like last year. About 80 per cent of the park is flooded. Out of 172 camps, 148 calls are inundated and 25 animals have died due to drowning and vehicle hits," the park's director, Satyendra Singh, told NDTV.
The forest guards who protect the animals from poachers are also marooned and feel more highlands are the need of the hour. "If the animals are on highland we can track them better," said forest guard Ramen Kalita, who is posted at the Gandamari forest camp inside Kaziranga's core area.
The lack of new highlands have once again forced wild animals to come on the highway to cross over to safer grounds, putting them at mercy of speeding vehicles. While some animals meet with accidents on the highway, others fall prey to poachers when they stray.
Kaziranga is a UNESCO World heritage site. The 430 sq km wild reserve is home to nearly 2,500 rhinos and hundreds of other wild species.