The Kaziranga National park is badly affected with 85% area submerged and according to Forest department report, a total of 108 animals have died in this flood season and 125 animals have been rescued. 60 animals have died from drowning and 15 have died from vehicle hits. So far, 134 animals have been rescued.
In an incident, a Rhino who strayed out of the oark has moved back now into the park. Such cases of displacement have been common ever since the onset of floods.
In Assam itself, so far, 11,06,777 big animals, 6,23,395 small animals and 10,84,005 poultry affected. As such, the risk of the animals to suffer from the flood has increased manifold.
The ravaging annual flood has claimed a total of 79 lives so far in Assam. A total of 26 districts are reeling under floodwaters, according to the Assam State Disaster Management Authority.
Amid the concerns of floods, there is another paradox. The floods rejuvenate the National Park every year by depositing alluvial soil and other sediments. This is considered to be a healthy wipeout, which maintains the ecology of the park. However, since time immemorial when that happens the animals had the facility to shift to high lands. With the increased human population in the peripheries, this organic tradition now sees increasing man-animal conflicts. On this aspect, Ramesh Gogoi, Kaziranga Park DCF said, “Basically, they reach the national highway stretch for highland and that has led to few mishaps. So far, 12 deers have died this year due to that. Some animals have even entered villages and few tigers have taken refuge their”.
Thus, the issue is not whether floods are useful or not. In the modern-day setting, floodwaters are not limited to monsoons but an uneven flow of dams discharge fostered by increasing the volatile Brahmaputra who banks are now getting encroached by human settlements. On the other hand, the animals of Kaziranga have lost their traditional high land place to human settlements which have also created problems. Overall, a holistic policy involving all the stakeholders is key.
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