GUWAHATI- The Assam Forest department has built around 40 highlands for providing shelter to animals due to the ongoing floods in the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve (KNPTR) and other National Parks and wildlife sanctuaries of the state.
Disclosing this, Minister for Environment and Forest, Parimal Suklabaidya said on Wednesday that his department is in a complete state of preparedness to rescue animals from the onslaught of ongoing floods in Kaziranga and other National Parks and wildlife sanctuaries. “We have successfully completed the construction of around 40 highlands for tackling the prevailing flood situations in Kaziranga and other National Parks and wildlife sanctuaries,” he quipped.
The new highlands have been designed scientifically with provision for adequate grass, and plants yielding fruits such as elephant apple and Indian gooseberry, said Suklabaidya.
“These highlands have enabled us reduce the animal casualty during annual floods”, the Minister added.
Suklabaidya, who is closely monitoring the flood situations in the National Parks and wildlife sanctuaries, said that the department is fully geared up to deal with the ongoing flood situation. “Kaziranga bears the brunt of floods every year, be it small or big. We are fully equipped to tackle any sort of exigency along with food arrangements for the officials and forest personnel deployed for rescue operations of animals in Kaziranga,” he added.\
The Forest Minister said that the forest officials are working round the clock in view of the flood situation and are working in close tandem with officials of Kaziranga National Park for ensuring safety of the animals. “More than 25 boats are kept ready for rescue of animals in Kaziranga,” he said.
While claiming that a slew of initiatives have been taken by his department to deal with the deluge in a better and efficient manner, Suklabaidya revealed that a baby elephant was saved from drowning on Tuesday morning.
Meanwhile, KNPTR Director, Jatin Sharma said the park has a total of 144 man-made highlands, including 33 big ones for housing animals during floods. In addition to that, we have built an 8.5 km long road cum highland for providing shelter to animals during floods and for patrolling.”
Sharma also said that KNPTR is fully prepared to meet any eventuality with country boats and speed boats being kept ready for deployment for rescue of animals. “Forest personnel are also on high alert,” he added.
He further stated that vaccination of cattle and camp elephants have been carried out near the periphery of the park in the last one and a half months to prevent infection from domestic animals to wild animals.