Drones keep an eye on flooded In­dian game park

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

GAUHATI: Po­lice are on the look­out for poach­ers as rhi­noc­eros, deer and wild buf­falo move to higher ground to es­cape floods dev­as­tat­ing parts of north-east In­dia, in­clud­ing a famed wildlife pre­serve.

Kazi­ranga Na­tional Park in As­sam state has the world’s largest pop­u­la­tion of the one-horned rhi­noc­eros and is home to many other species.

As­sam For­est and En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Pramila Rani Brahma yes­ter­day de­scribed the flood­ing sit­u­a­tion in the park as grave af­ter heavy monsoon rains in the past three weeks.

For­est guards have found one car­cass of a rhino that died in the floods, and Brahma said ve­hi­cles on a high­way knocked down six deer over the weekend.

Most for­est guard posts in the park have flooded, and po­lice are or­der­ing drones to keep watch on the na­tional park, spread over an area of 500km².

Last year, 17 one-horned rhi­nos died in monsoon floods, ac­cord­ing to the state gov­ern­ment. Most were calves that be­came sep­a­rated from their mothers dur­ing the flood­ing.

Flood lev­els reached 1.5 me­tres high in some places in the park last year.

Flood­ing and land­slides in As­sam have killed at least 28 peo­ple since mid-June, and around 500 000 peo­ple have fled their homes in 800 vil­lages across nearly half of As­sam’s 27 dis­tricts, of­fi­cials said.

Nearly 20 000 peo­ple have taken shel­ter in re­lief camps run by the state gov­ern­ment.

The monsoon sea­son runs from June through to Septem­ber and deadly floods are a reg­u­lar oc­cur­rence.

PIC­TURE: AP

A for­est guard looks at flooded Kazi­ranga Na­tional Park in Kazi­ranga, In­dia. Po­lice are pa­trolling for poach­ers as rhi­noc­eros, deer and buf­falo move to higher ground to es­cape floods in­un­dat­ing the re­serve.

A for­est of­fi­cial watches as a one-horned rhino wades through a flooded area in Kazi­ranga Na­tional Park, yes­ter­day. The park has the world’s largest pop­u­la­tion of the one-horned rhi­noc­eros and is home to many other species.

PIC­TURE: AP

One-horned rhi­nos take shel­ter on a high­land in the flooded park yes­ter­day.

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