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Assam: Rhino abode ready to welcome tourists

October 31, 2007 17:26 IST

The famous rhino abode Kaziranga National Park in Assam will be thrown open for tourists from Thursday for the coming season till April.

A senior official of the national park, which houses over 1600 precious one-horned Asiatic rhinoceros, said that already a large number of migratory birds have landed on numerous water bodies inside the wildlife sanctuary to greet the seasonal tourists and wildlife buffs.

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The park will be opened on Thursday although the authorities are yet to complete the flood-damage repair works. Three waves of floods from the River Brahmaputra left a trail of destruction inside the park. Most of its roads and bridges were left in shambles by the flood waters. 

The authority will require more than a year to restore the infrastructure to its original shape. However, there will be no problem for the tourists as numerous subways have been constructed inside the park by-passing damaged bridges and roads to facilitate smooth ride for the tourist inside the core areas of the 1000 square kilometer national park.

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Bagori, Agartoli and Kohora Ranges will be opened for visitors on Thursday while Burapahar Range will take at least one more month to get ready to welcome tourists. Burapahar Range areas are yet to get dried up properly.

Because of the continuing flood damage repair works, the wildlife buff and tourists will be allowed to certain points inside the park at the initial period of the tourists' season that lasts from November to April every year.

Meanwhile, much to the glee of the park authority a large number of winged visitors from distant places like Siberia have already started thronging the water numerous water bodies inside the National Park that is located in central Assam on the South Bank of Brahmaputra River.

Park officials had spotted flocks of bar-headed geese, mallards and whistling teals at different water bodies in the wildlife sanctuary that is considered a junction of Australisia and Indo-Asian flyways.

Several flocks of bar-headed geese in fact arrived at least three weeks ago, while as many as three species of teals have also landed in different locations of the Park. Kaziranga's Rich faunal resources in its water bodies attract hundreds of species of migratory birds every winter making it a virtual paradise for bird watchers during the tourists' season.

Because of ever increasing number of tourists visiting the park during last five seasons, the park authority this time has increased the frequency of Elephant Safaris to cater to the growing demand. Besides the 15 trained elephants of state forest department, 13 privately owned elephants will also be engaged for conducting safaris this year. There will also be increased numbers of jeep safaris this season.

"Over 76,000 tourists visited the national park and rhino abode last year enabling the Park authority to earn around Rs 80 lakh as revenue from tourists only," the DFO informed.

K Anurag in Guwahati