Forest officials rescue tigress which strayed out of flood-hit Kaziranga national park

Ending a nearly 30-hour long operation, forest officials and veterinarians on Wednesday successfully tranqulised and rescued a two-year-old tigress that had strayed out of the flood-affected Kaziranga national park and tiger reserve (KNPTR).

The tigress is among the 117 wild animals that have been rescued from inside and around the park spread over 430 sq km of which 90% area has been flooded.

“Due to rising flood waters, the tigress had strayed out of the park on Tuesday morning. It had spent a few hours resting near the national highway 37 that passes close to the park before it took shelter in the kitchen of a thatched hut in a nearby Baghmari village,” informed KNPTR director P. Sivakumar.

“We kept observing the tigress the entire time hoping that it would move out on its own. In the meantime, the family was shifted to a forest guest house. As we were worried about the animal’s health, it was tranquilised at 2:30 pm on Wednesday and rescued,” he added.

A team comprising veterinarian Shamsul Ali and forest personnel who carried out the rescue operation took the tigress to the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) located at Borjuri near the national park where it is recuperating.

“The tigress has recovered from anaesthesia and is out of danger. She doesn’t appear to have suffered any injuries. We will keep her under observation for 2-3 days before releasing her in the park,” head of CWRC Rathin Barman said.

The rescued tigress is one of the two tigers that had strayed out of the park on Tuesday to escape flood waters. While the other tiger was successfully driven out of the area and reached the higher locations in nearby Karbi Anglong district safely, the tigress had moved into a hut.

On Monday, a sub-adult male tiger had come out of the Agratoli range of the park to escape flood waters and took shelter in a goat shed in Kandolimari village for several hours before moving back to the park.

Floods, which ravage Kaziranga, the largest habitat of one-horned rhinos in the world, annually affects its inhabitants who try to find safety in higher locations or cross the nearby NH 37 and head to the hills in Karbi Anglong district.

On Tuesday, an adult rhino had come out of the park’s Kohora range and spent some time on the national highway before heading back to the park. Videos of the rhinos running on the highway are circulating on social media.

Till Wednesday, 66 animals of the Kaziranga national park had died during this monsoon. Twenty-three of the animals (two rhinos, five wild boars, one swamp deer, 14 hog deer and a porcupine) had drowned while 12 (all hog deer) died due to vehicle hits.

A total of 45 animals (all hog deer) have been injured—44 due to floods and one due to vehicle hit. Forest personnel have so far rescued 117 animals including a one-year-old female rhino calf which got separated from its mother.

The rescued animals include 2 rhinos, 98 hog deer, one wild buffalo, 11 pythons, one tiger, one swamp deer and three turtles. While 14 of the rescued animals have died, 98 have been released into the wild and five others are under treatment at the CWRC facility.