The devastating flood in Assam has not just affected humans but has also taken its toll on Kaziranga and its bio-diversity. While flood water is receding since last few days, still 52% of the park is inundated which has affected 93 anti-poaching camps under Agratoli, Kohora, Bagori, Burapahar and Bishwanathghat range. Because of the flood, animals which have taken shelter on the highlands are facing food scarcity. To help the starving animals, forest department came up with a unique plan. The animals were provided grass cut from areas which were relatively less affected by flood. Interestingly, this is something which has been tried for the first time and reportedly it has worked.
Speaking to Eclectic Northeast, Rohini Ballav Saikia, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Kaziranga National Park said, ‘ Generally herbivores find their own food inside the park. However, some of the highlands where the animals have taken shelter don’t have sufficient grass. Also, the big herbivores like rhino and buffaloes couldn’t move around looking for food leaving their calves behind. So, we brought grass from Bagori and provided them. This is an experiment which has been done for the first time in Kaziranga.’
Initially, there were apprehensions regarding this experiment. Saikia says, ‘ Animals generally like to select and eat their food themselves. We wanted to see how they would react to food brought from elsewhere. However, we are happy to note that they ate the food brought from outside.’
Till now, 73 carcasses of wild animals have been recovered from Kaziranga including four one horned rhinoceros. However, the number of casualties is much lesser compared to last year when more than 300 animals including 22 rhinos died.