Assam floods: One-horned Indian rhinoceros, which is listed as 'Vulnerable' on the IUCN Red List, can be seen taking refuge in the isolated highlands in the otherwise flooded wildlife sanctuary.
Assam floods: Animals in the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary in Morigaon district of Assam under Guwahati Wildlife division have been bearing the brunt of heavy flooding in the larger parts of the sanctuary as incessant rains continue to lash the northeastern state. While many of them seek refuge in the remaining highlands in the park, hunger pangs have driven others out of the forest area. As per an estimate, around 85 per cent area of Pobitora is flooded with water.
A video posted by news agency ANI showed the plight of flood-hit animals. One-horned Indian rhinoceros, which is listed as ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List, can be seen taking refuge in the isolated highlands in the otherwise flooded wildlife sanctuary. Its movement has largely got restricted owing to heavy flooding. The one-horned rhinoceros are running helter-skelter for safety, only to risk their lives from predators or from poachers and starvation too.
— ANI (@ANI) July 21, 2019
Many animals flocked together in groups to safeguard against nature’s agony. Haunted by scarcity of food, most of the wild animals have moved to the park’s numerous highlands. A number of other animals have moved to the Karbi hills, an area vulnerable for poaching.
Heavy rains and floods have damaged or submerged almost all the roads connecting to the forest camps in Pobitora. The forest personnel use country boats to take stock of the situation in the park. The floods have hit the anti-poaching operations in the park as many of the anti-poaching camps are submerged under water. The state government has deployed Special Rhino Protection Force personnel to protect fleeing rhinos from poaching.
The latest video from inside the park has come after the images of a fully grown Royal Bengal Tiger ‘relaxing’ on a bed inside a shop in the flooded Kaziranga National Park went viral on social media and thrown spotlight on the plight of animals as the state battles the deluge. Over 95% of the Park is submerged, rendering animals shelterless and forcing them to look for refuge in human habitations and highlands.
According to news agency PTI, the calamity has claimed the lives of 129 animals in the Kaziranga National Park, including 10 rhinos, 62 hog deer, eight sambhar deer and an equal number of wild boar, five swamp deer, two porcupines, an elephant and a wild buffalo till Saturday since July 13. Many animals were killed after being hit by vehicles while crossing the national highway 37 to reach the highlands in nearby Karbi Anglong district.