India floods swamp national park, killing six rhinos

According to government officials on Tuesday, devastating floods that have killed many people in northeastern India have also inundated a national park, drowning six endangered rhinos and other animals.

Chief Minister of Assam state Himanta Biswa Sarma said in a statement that the flooding has started to subside and that “the water level of the Brahmaputra and its tributaries is below the danger level in most places.”

Since mid-May, 72 people have died and over 1.8 million people have been affected over 3,000 villages, according to state disaster officials.

The South Asian monsoon rains, which fall from June to September, provide relief from the summer heat and are essential for restocking water sources, but they also cause a great deal of mortality and devastation.

Experts claim that the problem of excessive rain and flooding in recent years is being exacerbated by climate change.

The effects of the flood on animals are increasingly becoming apparent as the waters recede, particularly in Kaziranga National Park.

“Floods have affected humans and animals alike,” Sarma said, adding officers had been “working round the clock to aid everyone”.

On Monday, Sarma posted a video on social media of a stranded rhino calf, up to its chin in water, saying he had “instructed its immediate rescue”.

Kaziranga is home to two-thirds of the world’s remaining one-horned rhinos, classified as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List.

The park has 2,413 rhinos, according to a 2018 count.

Wildlife officers said six rhinos as well as scores of deer had been killed in recent days.

“Although there is higher ground for the shelter of the animals, the animals suffer when the high floods affect the park,” said a senior park official, who was not authorised to speak to the media, confirming the animal deaths.

Nearly yearly flooding at Kaziranga, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, contributes to the park’s biological balance and water resources.

This article has been posted by a News Hour Correspondent. For queries, please contact through [email protected]
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