A video of a rhinoceros resting on the National Highway-37 that cuts across the periphery of the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve (KNPTR), had gone viral on social media. The video also showed forest staff and police standing guard and carefully allowing vehicular traffic to pass the area without disturbing the exhausted animal.
However, the park has now posted a followed up tweet, along with a video saying that the rhino is now inside the park territory.
He (Rhino who strayed out) has moved into the Park Territory. He is regaining his strength. Team @kaziranga_ is giving him his natural food. We along with @nagaonpolice are guarding the area for his safety.
Thank you everyone for the support.@CMOfficeAssam @ParimalSuklaba1 pic.twitter.com/9xeCRMdVDf
— Kaziranga National Park & Tiger Reserve (@kaziranga_) July 19, 2020
“He (Rhino who strayed out) has moved into the Park Territory. He is regaining his strength. Team @kaziranga_is giving him his natural food. We along with@nagaonpolice are guarding the area for his safety. Thank you, everyone, for the support,” the park tweeted.
The rhino, estimated to be about 30-35 years old, had stepped out of the inundated park to take refuge in the safer, higher ground of the Karbi Anglong Hills. It’s not just this rhino alone, every year, during the deluge, thousands of animals move towards the Karbi Anglong hills navigating the bustling NH-37.
A rhino have strayed out near bandar dhubi area at Bagori Range yesterday and taking rest near NH37. The DRIVE OUT Operation is being carried out to guide the rhino to park. Our staffs along with @nagaonpolice are guarding the area. Drive Slow.@ParimalSuklaba1 @RandeepHooda pic.twitter.com/3avQXbqtHF
— Kaziranga National Park & Tiger Reserve (@kaziranga_) July 18, 2020
“The rhino strayed out of the Bandar Dhubi area at the Bagori range around 8.30 pm last night,” said P Sivakumar, Director, KNPTR. “Forest department staff, administration and police of the Nagaon district have been on guard, trying to regulate traffic,” he added.
As the rhino took rest, trucks and cars made their way across the highway, slowing down as they approached the animal. Towards Saturday afternoon, the rhino moved away on its own from the road and took refuge on the peripheral forest area near the road — on the Karbi Anglong side in the Kanchanjuri corridor. “It resting there, grazing at times,” said Sivakumar, “But it may come back on the road again at night — we are constantly monitoring the situation.”
Assam is in the grip of a devastating flood. More than 75 people have died, and nearly 40 lakh affected. In Kaziranga, the flood season sees the forest department, NGOs and villages involved in tough rescue operations round-the-clock. “Our aim is to safely guide it back to the park. Right now it seems to be doing okay,” said Sivakumar.
However, later the police informed that the animal again wandered off to the highway at night. Saying that it will continue to guard the rhino ensuring its safety, Nagaon Police joked, “My area my rules.”
My area my rules.
Rhino is still roaming near the NH37. Police & forest staff @kaziranga_ will guard him till he returns safely to the park.@assampolice @gpsinghassam @GolaghatPolice pic.twitter.com/NJFZrc9MZO
— Nagaon Police (@nagaonpolice) July 18, 2020
Many commenting on the video said they felt bad for the animal affected by the floods and urged that mitigation measures must be adopted soon. Others lauded the staff for not disturbing or interfering with the animal and allowing it to step aside voluntarily.
— Gaurav Gogoi (@GauravGogoiAsm) July 18, 2020
Exhausted rhino in flood in Assam. Will be guided to safe place. But we must fulfill our responsibility also. Disturbing them less. https://t.co/6iqJeBRcgZ
— Parveen Kaswan, IFS (@ParveenKaswan) July 18, 2020
So sad to see this … He thought the road to be a highland …May be just tired of swimming or roaming around searching food.
But thanks to @kaziranga_ & the local people for helping him out. Good work should always be appreciated. And they really did a good work this. https://t.co/ES4GhsROR2
— Anindita Sarma (@sarma_anindita) July 18, 2020
— Rakib | रकीब | رقيب (@salafi_rakibul) July 18, 2020
This is heart wrenching.. their houses are taken away and the Kaziranga team are doing their best m sure to save them❤️❤️ more power n blessings to this innocent animals https://t.co/kvgz1fAg7B
— Jyotic (@jyotic89) July 18, 2020
Well, it’s the highway which has lost its path and not the Rhino.
That road strays in Rhino’s house.
— abhimanyu (@SirmaurAbhi) July 18, 2020
Sad! Human encroachment increased the frequency of flood and these poor creatures are suffering
— Solitude (@Inert_buddha) July 18, 2020
Man it’s a tough job out there! Wish you guys all the power & strength.
— Thirsty (@Krishankj) July 18, 2020
Thank you for taking care of them 💓
— Nitika (@redhu_nitika) July 18, 2020
Floods are an annual occurrence. Been seeing this situation for decades. Shouldn’t measures be taken for animal safety by elevated platforms for shelter during floods and elevated roads for traffic so they don’t obstruct animal crossing. Technology can also be used to monitor.
— Pinky (@Pinkzenjoy) July 18, 2020
😯😢God…that poor Rhino must b so exhausted & hungry after battling d floodwaters..hope it isn’t sick! The authorities should keep a constant vigil until it voluntarily walks back into d forest.
— Nayan🍃#SaveDehingPatkai (@njb_moon) July 18, 2020
Underpasses need to be constructed. Deaths cannot be stopped by imposing night curfew. Pench seems to be a successful model. Innovative solutions are need of the hour.🙏🙏
— Kishore (@Karikish) July 18, 2020
So far, 125 animals have been rescued and 86 have died, including rhinos, deer and wild boar, in the sixth-worst flood since 1988. Yet, the annual deluge is considered essential for the survival of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.’
[With inputs from Tora Agarwala in Assam]