Uttar Pradesh national park inundated

August 23rd, 2011 - 11:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, Aug 23 (IANS) Release of water from overflowing dams in Nepal has flooded large parts of the terai belt in Uttar Pradesh, including areas of the Dudhwa National Park, the state’s largest and richest wildlife reserve, officials said Tuesday.

Suheli rivulet, which flows through the park, was overflowing both its banks, submerging some parts of the forest area. “However, the core area of the park is not affected by the flood waters and no damage has been caused to wildlife,” the state’s Chief Wildlife Conservator B.K. Patnaik claimed.

According to him, heavy rains over the past three years were responsible for flooding of certain parts of the 800-sq km Dudhwa National Park along the Indo-Nepal border, but the animals instinctively move to higher locations.

However, officials were worried about the 29-sq km fenced Rhino area, where a nearly three-decade old Rhino Rehabilitation project had taken the Rhino population to a proud 31 now.

“This time, the spillover of the Suheli river has inundated a larger portion of the fenced Rhino area, compelling the animal to make an attempt to move beyond the fenced area. But our wildlife guards were keeping a round-the-clock vigil to prevent the rhino from venturing into the outer forest,” Patnaik added.

Admitting that the task was difficult, he said: “Our boys do face trouble because the electrified fence becomes non-operational on account of the flood waters. So, they have to resort to the traditional ways of dissuading the rhino from venturing out of their earmarked area.”

Known as the original home of the one-horned rhino, this part of the terai region had completely lost its rhino population over the years. It took much effort for wildlife enthusiasts to persuade the government machinery to revive the rhino in the area.

Eventually, it was in the mid-eighties that the government gave its nod to the project, following which a pair of rhinos was brought here from the world-famous Kaziranga sanctuary in the northeast.

Meanwhile, with 46 of the state’s 72 districts having received above average rainfall this monsoon, 14 districts have been affected by floods. However, the real brunt of the increasing rush of waters from Nepal was faced by 10 districts, which received an excess of water from the Nepal-fed Ghagra river, a perennial menace for millions of people.

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