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Fodder scarcity looms large in Kaziranga
 KAZIRANGA, Aug 23 - After the devastating floods in the Kaziranga National Park that have taken a heavy toll on the wild animals, now it’s the fodder scarcity problem in the Park which can lead to the increase in death toll of the wild animals.

According to forest officials, vegetation in only 50 per cent of the park area is fit for consumption by wild herbivores of Kaziranga with the receding of floodwaters. “A few mild rainfalls are needed to clean up the muddy vegetation,” said Director of Kaziranga National Park Satyendra Singh.

He said that most of the wild animals of Kaziranga National Park are outside the Park area. So the question arises whether the wild animals are available in those 50 per cent park area of Kaziranga where the green vegetation is suitable for wild animals to consume. The director said that even though wild animals in eastern range of Agaratoli range and Burapahar range have started moving inside the Park, but in central range and Bagori range wild animals are still waiting outside the park area to get the floodwaters receded further.

According to a wildlife expert, Dr Anupam Sharma, from World Wildlife Fund-India (a leading organisation in wildlife conservation and endangered species), wild animals of flood-prone areas like Kaziranga are well adjusted to natural calamities and they are well prepared to move on according to the existing natural phenomenon. So they can survive even when there is a shortage of food. However, the animals which are weak and old will no longer survive in the natural calamity like flood. “Ultimately, this is survival of the fittest,” said Dr Sharma, adding that in this way the ecosystem get balanced.

Meanwhile, as per information received from Kaziranga forest department, a total of 239 wild animals of Kaziranga National Park died during the flood. Among those, 196 hog deer, 15 rhinos, 1 royal Bengal tiger, 4 elephants, 2 water buffalo, 12 sambar and 2 swamp deer had died due to drowning. A total of 50 wild animals were rescued by the joint operations of Kaziranga forest department and CWRC. A total of 41 wild animals had been released into the forest after giving treatment.

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