December 7, 2023

At least 17 rare rhinos killed after devastating floods hit India’s Kaziranga National Park

From WN

Officials at the Kaziranga National Park in Assam said the recent floods across India killed more than 200 animals, including 17 threatened one-horned rhinos, in the popular park on Wednesday, according to Science X.

At least 40 percent of the national park was underwater after 10 days of downpouring rain, which also killed more than 71 people across Assam.

The park is a UNESCO-listed heritage site and is home to the world’s largest population of one-horned rhinos.

Workers said once the floodwaters started to recede they had to take a grim inventory of all the wild animals who died.

Park director P. Sivakumar told AFP that 205 animals, including 17 rhinos, an elephant, 112 hog deer, 12 sambar deer, seven swamp deer, two buffalo, 18 wild boar and three porcupines.

Sivakumar said there were also 16 hog deers and one sambar who had been hit by cars while trying to cross a road which passes through the national park.

But thankfully some animals are beginning their return.

“The flood situation is improving gradually,” he said.

Park volunteers and rangers were able to rescue 69 stranded animals, including three rhinos and one young elephant, but some of the rescues later died at a rehabilitation center.

Sivkumar also noted how an important decision from the Supreme Court banning mining in the Karbi Anglong hills close to the sanctuary ended up being fortuitous since many animals treated the area as a sanctuary during the floods.

“The animals used to avoid the highlands because of the mines. They were afraid of coming into contact with humans,” he said.

Rangers said they saw water buffaloes, rhinos, elephants, and even tigers hiding out from the storm in the quarries.

Sivkumar established a Special Rhino Protection Force to guard the more than 2,400 rhinos in the park against poachers.

Park officials detained one of the most notorious poachers earlier this summer.

Officials across India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Pakistan said there were more than 650 people who died as a result of the floods across thousands of villages and cities.

Hundreds of thousands are still living in emergency camps as the water has only begun to recede in certain areas.

Authorities noted they were still struggling to deliver relief supplies to marooned people in Bangladesh.

“We have enough relief materials but the main problem is to reach out to the people,” Foyez Ahmed, deputy commissioner of Bangladesh’s Bogra district, said to Reuters. “We don’t have adequate transport facilities to move to the areas that are deep underwater.”, Maureen Foody

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