Kaziranga National Park Is Opened To Tourists Now
India

Kaziranga National Park Is Opened For Tourists Now

Home to two-third of the world’s one-horned rhino population, Kaziranga National Park last year received 1,70,000 Indian and 7,843 foreign tourists. Forest officials said the park had to be opened to visitors before November this year because of the onrush of visitors.


Kaziranga National Park (KNP) was thrown open to visitors on Monday. The World Heritage Site is still recovering from the two waves of devastating floods that killed several animals and caused large-scale damage to infrastructure between July and August this year.

Forest minister Pramila Rani Brahma, agriculture minister Atul Bora and water resources minister Kesab Mahanta attended the opening ceremony, which showcased cultural performances. Altogether, 675 Indians and one foreign tourist visited the park on the first day. The park’s revenue on the day was Rs 1.58 lakh.

Home to two-third of the world’s one-horned rhino population, Kaziranga last year received 1,70,000 Indian and 7,843 foreign tourists — one of the highest footfalls in recent years. KNP earned a total revenue of Rs 5.4 crore last year, also one of the highest ever. Like last year, this time also Kaziranga has been opened to tourists ahead of the usual time. Generally, the park is open for visitors from November to April.

Forest officials said the park had to be opened to visitors before November this year because of the onrush of visitors. However, environment activists said the opening of the park at a time when Kaziranga is yet to fully recover from the flood damage is going to pose several challenges.”Kaziranga experienced one of the worst floods in three decades this time. Swathes of area inside the park are still wet and inaccessible. The park authority is yet to access the total damage to infrastructure. Besides, the animals are still stressed because of the recent flood. So I think the decision to open Kaziranga for visitors has been done in haste,” environment activist Rohit Choudhury said.

Park officials said Bagori and Kohora ranges are now open. Agoratoli is still out of bounds for tourists as the access roads for visitors are still in a bad shape. Nearly 400 animals, including 31 rhinos, were killed in two waves of flood in July and August this year.

The majority of the animals were killed due to drowning, while some were killed after being hit by vehicles while escaping the flooded Kaziranga. On August 13, Kaziranga experienced one of the worst floods since 1988 when water from the Brahmaputra surged up to eight metres at several places inside the park.

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