Assam Forest and Environment Minister Pramila Rani Brahma on Monday opened the Kaziranga National Park for the 2017-18 tourist season.
Accompanied by Agriculture Minister Atul Bora, chairman of the Assam Tourism Development Corporation (ATDC) Jayanta Malla Baruah and other dignitaries, Brahma cut the ceremonial red ribbon to officially declare the park open and said that the Forest Department has advanced the tourist season by one month.
Earlier the park used to open for tourists from November 1 until April 30. The new Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led alliance government that came to power in 2016 ordered the park to open from October 1 until May 30.
“The puja vacation is on in schools and parents love to bring their children to Kaziranga. Keeping the vacation season in mind, we have decided to open the park on October 2 this year.
“We have opened only two ranges today, the Bagori and Kohora. Other ranges will open at a later stage,” Brahma said.
Massive floods hit Kaziranga twice this year leading to severe infrastructure damage. It also killed a total of 430 animals including rhinos and a tiger.
Park officials said that only 25 per cent of the Kohora range was ready for jeep and elephant safari as of now.
“We are going to launch only jeep safari in Bagori range today. We expect to begin elephant safari from October 11.”
Kaziranga has the highest number of the one-horned rhinos in the world.
The park covering an area of 430 sq.km is also famous for three giant herbivores: the Asiatic elephants, swamp deers and Asiatic water buffaloes.
A Unesco World heritage Site, Kaziranga has also been demarcated as an Important Bird Area by the Birdlife International to promote the conservation of endangered species.