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Overflowing dams in Nepal flood UP national park

August 24, 2011 01:13 IST

Release of water from the overflowing dams in Nepal has not only flooded large parts of the terai belt in Uttar Pradesh, but it has inundated certain areas of the Dudhwa National Park, which remains the state's largest and richest wildlife reserve.

Suheli rivulet, which flows through the park, was overflowing on both the banks, submerging some part of the forest areas.

"However, the core area of the park has not been affected by the flood waters and no damage has been caused to wildlife," claimed UP chief wildlife conservator B K Patnaik.

According to him, "Heavy rains was responsible for flooding of certain parts of the 800-sq km Dudhwa National Park along the Indo-Nepal border, but the animals instinctively move to  higher locations."

However, the officials were worried about the 29-sq km fenced rhino area where a nearly three-decade old rehabilitation project had taken the rhino population to a proud 31 now.

"This time the spillover of the Suheli river has inundated a larger portion of the fenced rhino area, compelling the animals to make an attempt to move beyond the fenced area. But our wildlife guards were keeping a round-the-clock vigil in preventing the rhinos from venturing into the outer forest," Patnaik pointed out.

Admitting that the task was difficult, he said, "Our boys do face trouble because the electrical fence becomes in-operational on account of the flood waters, so they have to resort to the traditional ways of dissuading the rhinos from venturing out of their earmarked area."

Known as the original home of the one-horned rhino, this part of the terai region had completely lost its rhino population over the years. Hence, it took much effort for wildlife enthusiasts to persuade the state government machinery to revive the rhino population in the area.

Eventually it was in the mid-80's that the government gave its nod to the project following which a pair of rhinos was brought in here from the world famous Kaziranga sanctuary in Assam.

After several hiccups, the project succeeded and today Dudhwa is recognised as much for the rhino as it was for the tiger and the vast variety of deers.

Meanwhile, with 46 of the state's 72 districts having received above average rainfall this monsoon, 14 districts were affected by the floods.

However, the real brunt of the increasing rush of waters from Nepal was faced by ten districts, which received overdose of waters from the Nepal-fed Ghagra river, which has proved out to be a perennial source of menace for millions of people in the state.

Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow