Rare species of rhino apart from other animals have been fleeing in hundreds to nearby areas in order to escape the floods in the northeastern states, thereby risking themselves to poaching.
According to officials, poachers wait for such situations to trap animals, when they come out of their habitats to higher grounds for shelters.
The most affected is the Kaziranga National Park in Assam, which is deluged in rain-flooded Brahmaputra river. The park is home to the largest concentration of the world’s remaining one-horned rhinoceros.
Hog deer, one of the smallest deer species, took the maximum brunt. Asiatic wild buffalo, wild boar, sambar, eastern swamp deer have also fallen prey to the flood.
Officials have managed to rescue 108 animals so far, out of which four are undergoing treatment, including a rhino calf.
“Water has started to recede. It has come down by two feet today and from day after tomorrow we will start scanning the entire park,” Singh said.
GUARDING AGAINST POACHERS
Officials are keeping a close eye on the movement of animals to guard them against poachers. They also face the danger of being hit by vehicles if they take refuge on roads.
“Poachers remain active throughout the year, but during floods they activity increases,” said Rupa Gandhi, chief of communications at the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI).
Gandhi added that so far no case of poaching has come to light and informed that last year’s flood had killed more animals than that of this year.
Every monsoon, floodsforce animals out of Kaziranga to the hills of Karbi Anglong across National Highway 715 skirting Kaziranga’s southern edge.
“Special barricades have been put along the highway and forest guards have been asking drivers to drive under 40kmph,” Gandhi said.
Few pictures and videos of wild animals, roaming in the human habitat, have been doing the rounds on social media, raising possibility of conflicts.
However, officials claim that locals have been sensitised and trained in dealing with animals and been taught how to conduct rescue operations during floods. The awareness program has also reportedly shown a positive result.
On Thursday, park officials said although the flood had started receding, 70 per cent of the 430 sqkm area of Kaziranga is still under water.
The staffers of seven out of 170 anti-poaching camps had to be evacuated. Authorities have taken to to drones and rangers for monitoring purpose