Kaziranga, July 14, 2013: The International Fund for Animal Welfare - Wildlife Trust of India (IFAW-WTI) has provided 35 boats to the Kaziranga National Park authorities to assist in anti-poaching patrolling in the flood-prone UNESCO World Heritage that houses more than 70% of the world's greater one horned rhinoceros.
Dr Rathin Barman, Deputy Director, WTI, handing over the boats to the Assam Forest Department, which will be used in their patrolling activities during the floods. Photo credit: Subhamoy Bhattacharjee
The boats are largely aimed at providing assistance to the local field staff in their patrolling (anti- poaching) activities during the floods in Kaziranga National Park, and were given through an IFAW-funded EDDG (Executive Director's Discretionary Grant) on Saturday.
Every year the park faces flooding of the Brahmaputra river, causing many animals to wander out in search of higher grounds. Many that are caught in the floods are rescued and rehabilitated by the Forest Department assisted by IFAW-WTI. These boats will help authorities in rescues and rehabilitation in addition to strengthening the anti-poaching mechanism.
“The vast area around the camps inside the forest got flooded every year. We can keep vigil with these boats in those areas vulnerable for rhino poaching. With these boats it will be very easy to patrol in the park during flood season and we can monitor any marooned animals.” said Ranjit Saikia, a senior forest guard of Eastern range of the national park.
The floods last year in Kaziranga, saw numerous animals including rhino calves rescued on boats by the forest guards. The boats were therefore provided during the monsoon season.
“We are happy to have this logistic support from IFAW-WTI to face the critical flood situation in Kaziranga National Park. Indeed, the boats will be of great help to execute quick response during animal rescue in the park. We appreciate IFAW-WTI initiatives for this noble gesture” said N.K. Vasu, Chief Conservator of Forest and the director of the Kaziranga National Park.
“IFAW-WTI partnership committed for the welfare and conservation of wildlife of Kaziranga National Park and we are trying our best to support the park. With our long experiences with the conservation efforts of Park management we felt these boats will be of great use for the benefits of the wildlife as well as the frontline forest staffs who stays remote inside the park during these tough flood months”- said Dr Rathin Barman, Deputy Director,WTI.
The boats were provided during the monsoon because last year, numerous animals were rescued on boats by the forest guards.
Photo credit: Subhamoy Bhattacharjee
Swapan Kumar Sealsarma, Divisional Forest Officer of Kaziranga National Park, who was present at the function said, “IFAW-WTI are always helping us for the protection of the wildlife duty. We hope in the coming days they will provide similar assistance for the interest of the Kaziranga National Park.”
Kaziranga National park is located the flood plains of river Brahmaputra and monsoon months are the toughest period for the frontline forest staffs to keep vigil in the many remote areas specially to counter poaching threats. During this period, boat is the only transporting mechanism which can help the park authorities up to a great extend.