Guwahati, July 13: A hog deer fleeing the floodwaters of Kaziranga National Park (KNP) was killed by a speeding vehicle on the National Highway-37 (NH-37) — which cuts across KNP — on Saturday morning. The animal was seeking refuge in the highlands from the floods.
As heavy rains continue to lash and leave 25 districts reeling in Assam, Section 144 was imposed around the vicinity of the Park, 90 per cent of which is currently submerged. In these circumstances, it is common for wild animals to move to safer ground.
“Animals like deer and elephants try to move to highlands — mostly the hilltops in the adjacent district of Karbi Anglong. Sometimes they take refuge in artificial highlands that have been created within the Park,” said KNP directory, P Sivakumar, confirming the death of the hog deer earlier in the morning in the Bagori range. “Six more hog deer have been rescued and released in the highland.”
The authorities have issued speed limits (30 kmph) and installed various check posts to curb further incidents. “We are now going to issue time cards for vehicles passing through the area,” said Sivakumar. The NH-37 is the only path for these animals to move to highlands during the monsoons.
A press statement from the office of Parimal Suklabaidya, Minister of Forests & Environment, Assam has requested “support and coordination from each and every departmental staff across all national parks and wildlife sanctuaries of Assam” and, in the light of the situation, has cancelled all leave request of the staff.
The park authorities have also appealed to people to contact the forest department immediately if they come across a wild animal on the highway.
“Flocks of animals — deer and elephant have been crossing the highway all day,” said Rathin Barman, Joint Director of Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), from KNP’s Panbari corridor. “As we speak, a herd of elephants are waiting to pass by but have been held up because of the traffic in the highway.”
Barman said that the current situation can be described only as a “medium” flood. “If the rains continue like this, it will get much worse. By tomorrow evening we will know how bad the situation is. The water levels at Nimati Ghat are very concerning.” The Brahmaputra River is currently flowing above the danger level at Nimati Ghat in Jorhat.