Centre directs spot appraisal of Kaziranga animal deaths



Centre directs spot appraisal of Kaziranga animal deaths New Delhi: Concerned over death of wild animals in the recent floods in Kaziranga Tiger Reserve in Assam, Centre today deputed a top official to undertake a spot appraisal of the situation.

After reviewing the flood situation in Kaziranga due to which mortality of as many as 595 wild animals has been reported, Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan deputed country's top tiger conservationist Rajesh Gopal to study the situation.

"The Minister has directed me to visit Kaziranga. I will visit the Tiger Reserve tomorrow to study the situation there," Gopal, who is Member Secretary of the National Tiger Conservation Authority, told PTI.

Gopal also said so far no tiger deaths have been reported from Tiger Reserve, which has an area of 1033 sq km and includes the Kaziranga National Park, Bura Chapori Wildlife Sanctuary and Laokhowa Wildlife Sanctuary.

Earlier, Assam had been requested to declare the adjoining Karbi Anglong Wildlife Sanctuary as a Tiger Reserve to enable adequate protection with Project Tiger assistance.

This would be reiterated for expediting during the visit of Gopal alongwith his team for spot appraisal and to strengthen the efforts by assisting the state.

Earlier, Environment Ministry issued a statement saying it reviewed flood situation based on report submitted by M Firoz Ahmad, Member, National Tiger Conservation Authority.

He was asked to make a spot appraisal of Kaziranga in the wake of recent floods.

As per the report, death of 17 Rhinos was reported and most of them were from the older age group, besides calves.

"However, three of them have been poached. The hog deer mortality, in particular has been reported very high (512)," it said.

The report has also highlighted the need for relieving the corridor areas from human pressure and avoiding change in land use pattern.

The Ministry said that an alternate alignment has been agreed upon for diverting or widening the NH-37. However, since the said highway is in use, the NHAI would be approached for providing flyovers at vantage points for the traffic.

This would prevent road hits, while providing safe passage for wild animals from beneath, the Ministry said.

PTI