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Saving rhino calves, other Kaziranga animals during floods is a different job altogether

How 32-year old Ramen fights all odds to rescue animals while the Brahmaputra causes massive inundation to the Kaziranga national park in Assam.

Written by Samudra Gupta Kashyap | Guwahati |
Updated: August 8, 2016 8:32:14 pm
Kaziranga, Kaziranga national park, assam, assam floods, Kaziranga assam floods, Kaziranga rihno assam floods, Kaziranga rihno conservation, assam news, india news, latest news A One-horned Rhino swims through flood waters in Kaziranga National Park in Assam (Source: PTI)

As a schoolboy Ramen Das always wanted to become a good football player, which in turn would help him get a good job somewhere in sports quota. He was also good in athletics, particularly in short-distance running. But while that dream never turned true, Ramen continues to run, for a different reason though. Hailing from Panbari, a village near Kaziranga National Park in Assam, 32-year old Ramen now works as an animal keeper at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation & Conservation (CWRC), the only centre of its kind in the entire country. With the Brahmaputra causing massive inundation to the national park in the past two weeks, the animals are having a difficult time, running helter-skelter in search of high land. Ramen on his part has to remain on the move almost round the clock, rescuing such animals and getting them back to the CWRC and also looking after them there.

“On normal days, we work on shifts to look after the animals who are undergoing treatment at our Centre. But once the monsoon started, we have been working without any routine. For four days starting July 26 we worked continuously round the clock because animals were running in different directions,” Ramen said.

He particularly recalls July 27 when he, along with his colleagues rescued three rhino calves, several deer from different places outside the national park. That day, as we were just checking our vehicle and equipments as a routine practice during the flood season, a call came from a village near Bagori that some people had rescued a rhino calf and were waiting for us to pick it up. We reached there in less than 30 minutes, and saw that a group of villagers had already rescued the rhino calf was it was running towards the rising water, had put a rope around its neck and was eagerly waiting for us. While we carefully picked up the rhino calf to the CWRC, we got another call, this one from Haldibari, about another rhino calf being caught. We were there in 15 minutes or so, and soon shifted the baby rhino to the Centre,” Ramen said.

animal-759 Ramen Das, one of the wildlife rescuers at IFAW-WTI. In this combination picture, he is seen with an eastern swamp deer (left) and a rescued rhino calf, which was brought to CWRC after being rescued in the Assam floods. Images: IFAW-WTI

In between there were calls from some other locations about deer being caught by villagers or stuck in some water body. “The same evening, around 8 PM, a person called up from Hatikhuli and said that a rhino calf had fallen into a ditch inside the tea garden. It is difficult to lift an animal from a ditch, but we managed to lift it because it was a calf,” he said.

The rescue team generally comprises of five to six persons. While vet Samsul Ali Sir leads the team, the three animal keepers including Ramen are the most important persons in any rescue operation. “Sometimes our Centre head Rathin Barman Sir also accompani-Your data has been truncated.

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