Natural Disasters

Assam floods: Nearly 85% of Kaziranga submerged, 9 one-horned rhinos dead

The national park is home to more than 2,000 one-horned rhinos, the largest population of this species in the world

Published: Tuesday 21 July 2020

Nearly 85 per cent of Assam’s Kaziranga National Park is submerged in water due to floods, resulting in the death of nine one-horned rhinoceros and several other animals including deer, wild boars, wild buffaloes and porcupines.

The state is reeling under one of the worst floods in decades.

More than a dozen animals died after being hit by speeding vehicles as they attempted to cross National Highway-37 close to the park. More than 50 were injured from the floods and during their attempts to cross the highway.

Around 15 animals have reportedly died while being treated for injuries. Eight animals are still undergoing treatment by non-profit Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation.

More than 130 animals were rescued from the floods, while 110 animals have, so far, been released into the wild.

Kaziranga National Park — a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage site — is home to more than 2,000 one-horned rhinos, the largest population of this species in the world.

These rare animals have faced extinction in the past. Around 200 animals, including 18 one-horned rhinos died from the floods last year.

The national park — spread across two districts with an area of 430 square kilometres — is a flood-prone area because it is situated between the Brahmaputra river on one side and the Karbi Anglong Hills on the other.

In the past five years, the park has faced similar flood situations at least four times, where nearly 60 per cent of it was submerged, causing the death of hundreds of animals.

The floods in Assam occur almost every year.

Apart from the loss of wildlife, nearly four million people have been affected by the floods this year, while more than 70 have died so far. The Brahmaputra river flowed above the danger mark at several places.

National Disaster Response Force teams are carrying out rescue operations.

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