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HindustanTimes Mon,14 Jul 2014

Kaziranga gets 35 boats for flood vigil

Rahul Karmakar, Hindustan Times  Guwahati, July 14, 2013
First Published: 19:24 IST(14/7/2013) | Last Updated: 19:25 IST(14/7/2013)

The International Fund for Animal Welfare-Wildlife Trust of India has provided 35 boats to the flood-prone Kaziranga National Park authorities to assist in anti-poaching patrolling. The boats are largely aimed at helping field staff during to maintain vigil during floods.

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Kaziranga houses more than 70% of the world's one-horned rhinos that fall prey to poachers while seeking higher grounds during floods.

"Vast areas around the camps inside the forest get flooded every year. The boats will make it easier for us to keep vigil in these areas vulnerable to rhino poaching. We can also monitor any marooned animals," said Ranjit Saikia, a senior forest guard in the park's eastern range.

Contrary to common perception, Kaziranga needs river Brahmaputra to swell and inundate its water bodies so that aquatic weeds can be flushed out. These weeds virtually constrict the vegetation and smaller animals.

"Kaziranga has not received the volume of water it normally does around this time every year," park director NK Vasu said.

Occasionally, Kaziranga gets too much water forcing the animals to flee to the hills of Karbi Anglong district on its southern fringes. Last year, more than 500 animals including a few rhinos drowned or were run-over by speeding vehicles on the highway separating the park from the hills. Some ran into poachers in the hills.


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