NEW DELHI, July 9 � Confirming death of 595 wild animals in the floods, the Centre on Monday claimed that only three rhinos have fallen prey to poachers, while the rest 14 have died due to old age. The State Government has been advised to declare the adjoining Karbi Anglong Wildlife Sanctuary as a tiger reserve to enable adequate protection.
Alarming reports of death of wild animals following floods in the State led the Ministry of Environment and Forest on Monday to review flood situation in Kaziranga National Park.
Official sources said member National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), Dr. M. Firoz Ahmad, was asked to make a spot appraisal of Kaziranga in the wake of the recent floods.
Assam Government has been advised to declare the adjoining Karbi Anglong Wildlife Sanctuary, as a tiger reserve to enable adequate protection with Project Tiger assistance, sources said, adding that this would be reiterated for expediting the proposal.
An alternate alignment has been agreed upon for diverting and widening the NH-37. However, since the said highway is in use, the NHAI would be approached for providing flyovers at vantage points for the traffic. This would prevent road hits, while providing safe passage for wild animals from beneath. The National Highway 37 separates the reserve from the wildlife Sanctuary.
The Member Secretary, NTCA would be visiting the reserve along with his team for spot appraisal, to strengthen the efforts by assisting the State. During normal floods, which are a recurring feature, there is less mortality of wild animals, said sources.
However, flash floods do occur due to breaches in the upper areas of Brahmaputra, which result in increased deaths of wild animals. During 1998, a similar flood situation occurred in Kaziranga, resulting in a large number of wild animal deaths in the area, sources said.
The park management has deployed patrolling staff for the protection of wild animals along the highways by creating barriers along with 24x7 surveillance. The staff of Karbi Anglong Sanctuary were also co-opted to strengthen protection in the area. Besides to safeguard wild animals from drowning in floods, artificial mounds and bunds have also been created at various places. Wild animals are also rescued through boats, said sources.