Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Flood Rescues at Kaziranga

From my mailbox, this appeal from IFAW:
"A scared rhino calf thrashes helplessly, swept along the surging floodwaters that will soon rage across Kaziranga National Park in India.

A herd of rare Asiatic elephants crosses a highway in desperation, searching for higher ground. If they are lucky enough to make it across the road without being hit by a car, poachers may be waiting on the hilltops to slaughter them.

You may have already heard about the terrible floods currently wreaking havoc in Bombay. But each year monsoon rains also turn Brahmaputra, one of the world’s great rivers, into a destructive force of nature. When the river overflows its banks, it means possible injury or death to many of the world’s most endangered species living in Kaziranga, including the one-horned rhino and Royal Bengal tiger.

Caught between drowning and poacher gangs, there’s no place to hide. But if these animals are lucky, they may be rescued by one of the few forest rangers who risk their lives every day to save them....

The IFAW-supported Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) in Kaziranga plays a vital role in the rescue and rehabilitation of animals during the annual Indian floods.

The Centre is a flurry of activity, with reinforcements in the form of rescue staff and trained volunteers, including veterinarians, working grueling 20-hour days to treat injured and sick animals before releasing them back into the wild.

Last year CWRC handled 44 wild animals injured in floods or accidents and spent day and night patrolling along the highway rescuing injured wildlife. The floods also damage the infrastructure of the park, destroying most of the roads, and a huge amount of work is required every year to repair the damage.

Together, we can protect one of the world’s most important animal sanctuaries

Created in 1905 to prevent the extermination of rhinos, Kaziranga is renowned as one of the finest and most beautiful wildlife refuges in southern Asia. It protects approximately half of the remaining one-horned rhinoceros population (of only some 2,300 left in the world), as well as many other threatened species.

The park also boasts the highest density tiger population as well as a multitude of other Indian species that are large in size: elephants, wild buffaloes, gaurs, swamp deer, sambar deer; Kaziranga has it all..."

Please visit www.ifaw.org for more details.