By Arré Bench Jul. 15, 2020
A young tiger was found taking refuge from the rising waters inside a goat shed. A rhino calf was separated from its mother. Each year, the precious ecosystem at Kaziranga National Park is thrown into disarray as floods wreak havoc in Assam.
Kaziranga National Park in Assam is one of the crown jewels of India’s natural heritage. Sometimes called “The Land of the Giants”, it is home to some of India’s largest wildlife species, including the gaur bison, Asian elephant, Royal Bengal tiger, and most famously, the one-horned rhinoceros. This precious ecosystem has been thrown into disarray by the floods currently ravaging Assam, with the majority of the park inundated by floodwaters forcing animals out of their natural habitats and into surrounding areas.
Assam: Due to floods, 80% of Kaziranga National Park is submerged in water. P Sivakumar, Director, Kaziranga National Park says, "So far, 66 animals have died and 170 animals were rescued." pic.twitter.com/sWhojRBUmG
— ANI (@ANI) July 15, 2020
The flooding has led to some unique interactions between the animals and humans who live in the area. In Assam’s Golaghat district, a video clip emerged of a young tiger taking refuge from the flood inside a goat shed. Two more incidents of tigers leaving the park and approaching nearby villages have been reported. Of the three tigers that left the park, two have already been safely relocated back into Kaziranga and away from human dwellings.
Horrible situation. 90 percent of Kaziranga National Park of Assam under flood. An adult Royal Bengal Tiger taking shelter in a house nearby village. pic.twitter.com/DDsCiarcPO
— Nandan Pratim Sharma Bordoloi 🇮🇳 (@NANDANPRATIM) July 13, 2020
Meanwhile, park authorities and the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) have been engaged in rescue missions for the animals trapped by the rising matters. Video clips of authorities rescuing a stranded rhino calf that was separated from its mother are also doing the rounds of the internet.
A female rhino calf was separated from her mother due to high flood in the Agartoli range yesterday. As we could not locate the mother, team CWRC along with @kaziranga_ staffs rescued it and currently under care at our rescue centre-CWRC. @ParimalSuklaba1 @wti_org_India pic.twitter.com/LLPHrDPQ8Z
— Kaziranga National Park & Tiger Reserve (@kaziranga_) July 15, 2020
Reports are claiming that as much as 95 per cent of Kaziranga National Park is currently flooded. The floods have had an adverse effect on the wildlife in the park, with over 50 wild animals dying in the disaster. Images of deer and rhinos fleeing the forest are truly heartbreaking.
#Exclusive | It was agreed earlier that annual flooding is essential for the survival of Kaziranga National Park as the floods revitalise the grasslands. But, it's not the same anymore. Earlier the animals could simply move to the higher ground within the park. pic.twitter.com/TFvletTxRu
— Tezpur Buzz (@TezpurBuzz) July 15, 2020
Hog deer, one of the most abundant prey species in the park, make up most of the numbers in both the number of dead as well as rescued animals. More than 50 animals have succumbed to the floods.
While travelling through Kohora range in #Kaziranga National Park, happy to have rescued a Hog Deer, which was badly bitten by dogs.
— Atul Bora (@ATULBORA2) July 15, 2020
The shocking scenes from Kaziranga National Park are a reminder that as humans, we are not alone in facing natural disasters. The flora and fauna that surround us are equal participants in the health of the environment, and suffer as much as we do.