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Thursday, September 24, 2020

Watch: Rhino that rested on Assam highway returns to Kaziranga National Park

The rhino, estimated to be about 30-35 years old, was trying to flee the inundated park to take refuge in the safer, higher ground of the Karbi Anglong Hills.

By: Trends Desk | New Delhi | Updated: July 19, 2020 7:13:04 pm
assam flood, assam kaziranga national park, rhino kaziranga highway, rhino resting nh 37 highway, rhino assam flood, rhino rescue, indian express, assam news The forest staff and police were seen at the site making sure the animal is safe and allowing vehicles to pass very slowly without disturbing the rhino. (Source: @kaziranga_/ Twitter)

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,” 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.

“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.”

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.

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]

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