|Rhinos of Pobitora starving following flood deluge|
MORIGAON, Aug 19 - Though the overall flood situation in Morigaon district has showed slight improvement, yet the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, the densest habitat of the one-horned rhinos in the world is totally under floodwaters, pushing all the wild animals, including the one-horned rhinos to a desperate situation.
The Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, situated in Mayong revenue circle in Morigaon district of central Assam covering 38 sq km of land is only 50 km away from the State capital Guwahati. The second wave of flood in the second week of this month devastated the infrastructure of the sanctuary pushing the forest staff to a challenging situation. The link road to Pobitora was breached at several places. Out of the 20 forest camps of the sanctuary, 14 camps are under floodwaters. The sanctuary has more than 100 Indian one-horned rhinos, 1200 wild hogs, 1500 buffaloes and several species of snakes and tortoises. The wild animals were forced to go outside the sanctuary due to the fodder crisis. The alarming starvation among the animals has caused concern among the nature lovers.
The need of the hour is fodder for the rhinos. Moreover, the 100 forest staff who are keeping a vigil on the situation round-the-clock should be given proper logistic support and food items. The shortage of machine boats in Pobitora is one of the main problems. To curb poaching in the sanctuary, machine boats are required for the armed forest staff. The Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahama visited the flood-ravaged sanctuary the day before yesterday and met the distressed forest officials and assured proper measures to the forest guards. The forest staff of Pobitora are now serving the anti-poaching duties only through limited hand boats. Water-borne diseases among animals are most likely to erupt soon if floodwaters remain in the sanctuary for a long time.