An adult elephant that was part of a herd that was moving to a highland in view of the Brahmaputra flood-waters entering and inundating the Kaziranga National Park in Assam, was electrocuted when it came into contact with a live electric transmission line that was passing by low.
“Though one of the elephants died of electrocution, the good news is that a wildlife protection patrol team arrived there on time and managed to divert the remaining members of the herd before more could come into contact with the live wire,” Park director MK Yadava told The Indian Express over the telephone. The incident occurred late Friday night in the Burapahar range of the 430-km national park in central Assam.
Yadava also said that though the Brahmaputra floods had inundated over 80 per cent of the national park, the water-level had registered a 5-inch reduction since Saturday morning, and was expected to decrease further provided there were no fresh rains in the catchment areas in upper Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
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“The flood level has started receding since Saturday morning, and we hope it will reduce further, provided there is no more heavy rain upstream. The flood level this year is about 30 cm less than the highest level of 2014,” Yadava said.
The current wave of floods has also caused death to at least three rhinos, while some deer to have died of drowning, the park director informed. “Our patrol teams have so far located at least two rhino carcasses, both believed to be drowning cases because the horns are intact. A third rhino without its horn was found on Friday, but there was no bullet injury on the animal,” he added.
Speeding vehicles on National Highway 715 that also constitutes the southern boundary of Kaziranga National Park have knocked down several animals that were trying to cross over to highlands across the road in the past one week. “At least six deer have been killed after being run over or knocked down by speeding vehicles,” Yadava said.
Flood-affected population rises to 16.28 lakh
Meanwhile, even as the overall flood situation in Assam remained grim on Saturday, with the Brahmaputra continuing to flow above the danger level in Jorhat, Kaziranga, Tezpur, Guwahati, Goalpara and Dhubri.
The number of people affected has risen to over 16.28 lakh, official sources said. Morigaon, Darrang, Barpeta, Dhubri, Goalpara, Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Dibrugarh, Lakhimpur and Tinsukia remained the worst affected districts. In Morigaon alone, over 2.26 lakh people have been affected, followed by Darrang with 2.25 lakh.
The current wave of floods also caused intensive damage to standing crops – mainly paddy – with the Assam State Disaster Management Authority putting the crop area damaged at 1.45 lakh hectares. Standing paddy has been worst hit in Tinsukia, Cachar, Darrang, Goalpara and Golaghat districts.