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Fact: The Annual Flooding of Kaziranga Is Actually a Good Thing

Kaziranga National park to reopen on October 2 after it was shut in May after heavy flooding. 

Updated
India
3 min read
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Every year between May and September, the Kaziranga National Park – a 378.22 sq km wildlife sanctuary – is submerged in flood waters. Rainfall of about 222 mm contributes to the rising water level of the Brahmaputra which surrounds the park.

After nearly five months of remaining closed, the national park located in the Golaghat and Nagaon districts of Assam reopens to public on 2 October.

Kaziranga is home to the one-horned rhinoceros – the animal that draws wildlife lovers to the park from all over the world. Listed as a vulnerable animal, the one-horned rhino faces serious threat from poachers who seek it out and hunt it down for its horn.

And then there is the bigger danger, far more powerful and difficult to tame, that threatens the very existence of the park itself – every monsoon’s raging Brahmaputra.
Kaziranga National park to reopen on October 2 after it was shut in May after heavy flooding. 
A rhino calf swims through flood waters at Baghmari Village near Kaziranga National Park near Guwahati.
(Photo Courtesy: PTI) 
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Last year, the floods had drowned nearly 350 animals, and damaged houses, roads, public buildings and bridges. In 2017, the animal death toll stands at 503. Besides, the 2017 flash floods affected nearly 40,000 people in over three dozen villages, forcing thousands to flee their homes.

The images of a mother rhino moping next to the carcass of its cub or of elephants suffocated to death are not easy to forget, and that is why we often wonder – why do these floods happen? Can’t the government be better prepared with disaster management systems? If it happens every year, can’t the animals be relocated?

Kaziranga National park to reopen on October 2 after it was shut in May after heavy flooding. 
Carcass of a rhinoceros at the Kaziranga National Park, Assam on 4 September 2015. 
(Photo Courtesy : IANS)
We should also address the focus point – these floods happen for a reason.

Floods Are Actually Good

Kaziranga is part of the highly fertile middle Brahmaputra alluvial flood plains with exposed sandbars, riverine flood-formed lakes and elevated flats. Basically, it is the floods which keep this ecosystem healthy and alive.

For animals, the floods aren’t the real problem. It is our inhabitation and lack of understanding the flood plains. The “animal lover” in us fails to comprehend that these animals are part of this ecological cycle, and so it is natural that some die due to the calamity.

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The animals have found ways of escaping by running to higher ground – usually scurrying to neighbouring highways, villages and roads. But once these rhinos or tigers reach the hills, many do not return because of lack of monitoring agencies and eyes of poachers.

So who is at fault now? Nature or Man?

Sometimes, it is necessary to look beyond what meets the eye and address the larger impending man-made issues than try to reason with the law of nature. It is the animal deaths due to poaching, road accidents and electrocution we need to keep a tab on and rectify and not nature’s fury.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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