At least 23 animals have died in Kaziranga National Park (KNP) of Assam in floods this year, with nearly 90 percent of the park inundated in the current wave of floods.
Waters from several rivers that pass through or flow on the peripheries of the park, including the Brahmaputra, have submerged most of the landmass in the park.
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Eight hog deer and one Sambar have been killed due to vehicle hit during this current wave of floods in the KNP. Five hog deer and one wild boar have drowned so far, while five have died due to other reasons during this wave of floods. Apart from that another three hog deer have died at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation.
The water levels have been maintaining a rising trend since July 14, leading to inundation of nearly 90 percent of the park on July 15.
Besides the forested areas, the national highway 37 passing through the Park has been overtopped by flood waters at about six places and at a few stretches, movement of vehicular traffic has been stopped or regulated by district administrations of Nagaon and Golaghat.
Speed limit has been imposed on passing vehicles to ensure that animals crossing the national highway to take refuge in the adjoining Karbi Anglong hills are not hit by the vehicles. Strict monitoring of adherence of speed limit is being done by the authorities, while veterinary teams have been kept ready to attend to any injured animal.
State water resources minister Keshab Mahanta visited Kaziranga and adjoining areas to take stock of the situation on July 15. He said the high lands constructed inside the Park are still dry and animals have been taking refuge on these high lands. Besides ensuring security for the animals, Mahanta also assured of rescue and relief for the affected people in the area.
Meanwhile, the special Rhino Protection Force has been deployed by the Forest department in the park as poaching incidents tend to rise during the floods.
Altogether 82 personnel, divided in groups of five and equipped with latest armoury, have been spread across the park to ensure safety of the animals, especially the famed one-horned rhinos of Kaziranga.