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Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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Kaziranga National Park Flood Crisis: Wildlife at Risk as 95 Forest Camps Submerged

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The iconic Kaziranga National Park is facing a dire situation as severe floods have inundated 95 out of 233 forest camps, putting wildlife at significant risk. The floods, caused by heavy monsoon rains, have led to the evacuation of six forest camps, threatening the safety of the park’s renowned biodiversity.

Flood Impact on Kaziranga

Sonali Ghosh, the Field Director of Kaziranga National Park, confirmed the widespread inundation. All 34 camps in the Agratoli range, 20 in Kaziranga, 10 in Bagori, 5 in Burapahar, 6 in Bokakhat, and 20 in the Biswanath Wildlife Division are underwater. The situation worsened when a wooden bridge near the Moshguli Camp in the Agratoli Range was washed away, disrupting access and rescue operations.

Herds of elephants, one of the park’s flagship species, have begun migrating towards higher grounds in Karbi Anglong through the Hati Dandi corridor. To facilitate their movement and ensure their safety, heavy traffic diversion has been requested on the NH 715 stretch under the Nagaon and Golaghat districts. Additionally, Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) has been enforced to prevent any disturbances in these areas.

Precautionary Measures and Rescue Operations

The park authorities have implemented several precautionary measures to mitigate the impact of the floods and protect wildlife. Standby rescue teams and veterinary units are on high alert, ready to assist any animals in distress. Deployed boats and barricades are strategically placed, and essential supplies are being distributed to affected camps.

Animal sensors have been activated to monitor wildlife movement, and joint patrols are being conducted by commando groups and forest teams to ensure the safety of both animals and park staff. A flood gauge station, supported by the Central Water Commission, has been established for real-time monitoring of water levels.

Government Response and Support

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured full cooperation to Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in managing the flood crisis. In a recent conversation, PM Modi expressed concern over the situation and pledged the central government’s support in relief efforts. CM Sarma has briefed the Prime Minister about the ongoing relief measures and the challenges posed by the second wave of floods this year.

“Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi Ji called me a short while ago to enquire about the flood situation in Assam. I explained to him that Assam is experiencing a second wave of floods this year due to heavy rains in Arunachal Pradesh and parts of our upper Assam districts. I also briefed him about the relief measures undertaken by the state government,” CM Sarma posted on X (formerly Twitter).

“He assured me of full cooperation from the Government of India in this hour of crisis,” he added.

Wildlife at Risk

The floods pose a severe threat to the park’s diverse wildlife, including the endangered one-horned rhinoceros, tigers, elephants, and numerous bird species. The Kaziranga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is home to some of the world’s most unique and vulnerable species. Efforts are being made to ensure the safety and survival of these animals during this critical period.

The park authorities are also collaborating with local communities to provide additional support and resources for wildlife conservation and flood management. Volunteers and NGOs are actively participating in rescue and relief operations, demonstrating a unified effort to tackle the crisis.

Looking Ahead

The situation in Kaziranga remains precarious, with the threat of further rainfall looming. Continuous monitoring and swift action are essential to mitigate the impact of the floods and safeguard the park’s wildlife. The cooperation between the central and state governments, along with the dedication of park authorities and local communities, will play a crucial role in navigating this challenging period.

As the floodwaters eventually recede, the focus will shift towards restoration and rehabilitation efforts to repair the damage and ensure the long-term safety of Kaziranga’s flora and fauna. The resilience of the park’s ecosystem and the commitment of those involved will be key in overcoming this natural disaster.

Also read: INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP ON DAM SAFETY 2024 AT IIT GUWAHATI

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