Nearly 70 per cent of the Kaziranga National Park was flooded in the current spell of rains, which claimed the lives of two rhinos and 22 hog deer. Speeding vehicles killed 17 hog deer till Friday. The park authorities have so far rescued and released 56 hog deer and eight swamp deer.
KNP Director Sanjib Kumar Bora told The Hindu that the magnitude of the flood in the park this time was higher than that of 2004, but all efforts were on to protect the wild animals from the flood fury.
He said elephant herds of the park started migrating to highlands on the southern side towards Nagaon, Golaghat, and Karbi Anglong followed by herds of hog deer. Rhinos can survive in water.
A rhino calf and an elephant calf hit by vehicles were rescued, and both animals are being treated at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC), run jointly by the Wildlife Trust of India, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, and the Department of Forest located in the park.
Mr. Bora said Section 144 had been promulgated, restricting the speed of vehicles plying along National Highway 37 that passes through the park, and time cards had been introduced to enforce a speed limit of 40km/hour, in cooperation with the police and local NGOs and general public.
The KNP director, however, said the flood this time was expected to recharge the wetlands of the park, and rejuvenate grasslands and other areas.