19 Jul, 2019
Tiger Escapes Flooded Kaziranga Park, Lands Up in a Bedroom
A large part of Assam is bearing the brunt of floods, with most of its districts submerged under water. A large number of people have been displaced from their homes and properties, even as the incessant rain threatens to aggravate the situation. The Brahmaputra River, the largest of all rivers in the state, is well above its danger mark. The widespread damage caused by the flood has affected both humans and wildlife. A large number of wild animals are on the loose as flood waters render the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries uninhabitable. Consequently, they have sought refuge wherever they can, including homes.
In one such incident, a tiger, which escaped the flooded areas of Kaziranga National Park, was caught on camera relaxing in a house, which lies in close proximity to the park. According to the park authorities, the adult Royal Bengal Tiger, which weighs more than 200 pounds, was initially spotted by a forest guard near the national highway. Wildlife Trust of India opined that the tiger, unnerved by the flooding, was looking for shelter and protection, and the house seemed like the best option at the time. According to the latest developments, park authorities have devised a strategy to tranquillise the tiger before taking him away, as that would be the safest and most effective way of handling the situation.
In the picture, the tiger can be seen relaxing in a “Bed and Breakfast”, even as he looks tired and exhausted. Twitter immediately reacted to this news, expressing surprise and sympathy for the animal. The owner of the house was alerted to the tiger’s presence after the neighbours, having spotted it from a distance, began shouting and screaming.
Kaziranga National Park in the grip of floods
The floods in Assam this year have caused enormous damage to the animals inside the park, with a large number of them meeting their deaths due to various reasons. A divisional forest officer of Kaziranga National Park, said, “So far, 51 animals have died, including 38 hog deers, five rhinos, one elephant, three sambars and four wild boars. About 11 hog deer were killed by vehicles on the highway crossing through the park. The rest drowned.” Speaking on the matter, the park authorities said, “There are more than 30,000 hog deer in the park. With their population being so high, so will the death toll. Also, they are nervous animals which make them more prone to danger.”
In order to tackle the situation, around 33 highlands have been constructed by the forest department, in addition to the 111 earlier ones which have provided a safe refuge for animals and brought down the number of casualties drastically. Even then, this strategy is not without its drawbacks, as not all the animals use, or have been using highlands. A park official in Kaziranga National Park, throwing light on the matter, said, “However, not every animal uses highlands. They are mainly used by rhinos and hog deers. Elephants and tigers mostly avoid it. In fact, a tiger was also spotted taking shelter on the rooftop of a house in Moabari.”
Rescue efforts are underway though, largely through the cooperation of forest guards, officials and people living in the nearby locality. It is estimated that the park authorities have rescued 43 animals after providing them with proper medication at the Center for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation. 10 of them, including two rhinos, are still undergoing treatment.
The situation is expected to get better when water levels begin receding, as it has in some areas. It should also be noted that 169 of the 199 anti-poaching camps remain submerged under water, thereby making poaching another issue to be bothered about during this time.
The destruction caused by the floods so far
The destructive floods in Assam have caused the death of 50 animals so far, according to the local media. Many of them died in traffic accidents as they tried crossing a busy highway in an attempt to reach Karbi hills, located in close proximity. According to Pradut Goswami, a forest ranger, “It has been a long time since this type of flood has affected Kaziranga National Park.” Several troubling photos have emerged of animals stranded helplessly inside the park. These include one horned rhinoceros resting on certain dry patches of land, elephants crossing a road and wild buffaloes running cluelessly in the floodwaters.
Other areas flooded, but no animal casualties
Most of the other national parks and wildlife sanctuaries have also been submerged during the recent Assam floods. These include Nameri National Park, Orang National Park, Dibru-Saikhowa Park, Manas National Park and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary. No animal casualties have been reported from these wildlife reserves so far.