Mighty Brahmaputra has shown its rage again with a prodigious holocaust. The worst ever flood experienced by Assam has inundated 27 out of 28 districts including a World Heritage Site, the Kaziranga National Park (famous for one-horned Rhino) due to which over 560 animals perished. This year the area has faced relentless rains, leaving behind freakish destruction.
With insufficient ways for rescue of animals, the enormous flood has left behind a trail of unprecedented destruction to wildlife. According to the latest official update, casualties include 14 rhinos, 465 hog deer, 10 swamp deer, 28 wild boars, 5 porcupine, 16 sambars and 2 each of python, wild buffalo and hog badgers. In their attempt to reach higher ground, about 26 marooned hog deer were badly hit by speeding vehicles when these animals crossed National Highway 37. The death rate is higher predominantly among the hog deer because of their small size; they are helpless in evading the tremendous flow of flood water.
Many animals were taken away with the haste of the flood and few are displaced in their struggle for survival. “The death toll is likely to increase as more carcasses are recovered with the water level receding”, said the park director Sanjib Bora. He also said, “The magnitude of the flood in the park this time was higher than that of 2004, but all efforts were on to protect the wild animals from the flood fury.”
Around 80% of the Park was inundated with water by midnight on June 28, since June 26 when water started rushing into the Park. The current spell of ferocious rains has paved a way for poachers. The ruthless poachers have killed 2 rhinos, taking the advantage of the thin situation. Roads and the other infrastructure in the park are also badly affected by the severity of this flood.
Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) has rescued around 126 hog deer, 2 rhino calves, 2 elephant calves, and 4 barking deer from flood water and has released 94 hog deer, 3 barking deer after their successful treatment. Mr. Bora said, “Section 144 had been promulgated, restricting the speed of vehicles plying along National Highway 37 that passes through the park, and time cards had been introduced to enforce a speed limit of 40km/hour, in cooperation with the police and local NGOs and general public.”
The havoc created by the devastating flood water has caused extensive damage to innocent animals and their habitat. The actual intensity of the catastrophe is yet unknown. Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh has announced an aid package of Rs 500 crore for flood-hit Assam. The question which arises is that how much will actually reach the needy?