GUWAHATI: The surging waters have wreaked havoc in the KNP (Kaziranga National Park) and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary making wild animals run helter-skelter for safety – only to risk their lives either from predators or from poachers, besides starvation. Around 90 percent area of the KNP and around 85 percent area of Pobitora is under water.
Meanwhile, National Nighway-37 that passes through the KNP is also under water. Plying of all vehicular traffic has been banned on the highway. The situation has come to such a pass that 17 animals have been killed – eight hog deer and one sambar deer in accidents, two other animals by drowning and six more for other reasons.
Most of the animals have moved to the park’s numerous highlands only to be haunted by scarcity of food. A few hog deer have been rescued by the nearby villagers while being carried away by the surging water. Driven by hunger pangs, a number of other animals, on the other hand, have moved to the Karbi hills by crossing the NH-37, an area vulnerable for poaching.
Forest officials have to do their duty with mechanized and country boats as 155 of the 199 anti-poaching camps in the KNP are under water. Special Rhino Protection Force personnel have been deployed in the KNP as the fleeing animals are vulnerable to poaching. Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) Dr. Ranjana Gupta has been camping in the park to supervise activities being carried out to protect the animals.
Following a directive from the Chief Minister, Minister of State for Forest Naba Kumar Doley visited the forest camps in the park on Monday.
This is a real challenge for Forest personnel to save the animals from the flood fury, poachers and starvation. There is every possibility of the animals that have moved to Karbi hill being exposed to poachers.
Almost all the roads connecting to the forest camps in Pobitora have been either submerged or damaged. There is no report of any casualty of animals in the sanctuary so far. However, the water level is rising fast.