Elephant’s plight in flooded river catches everyone’s attention

Dehradun, Oct 20 (PTI):
The plight of a tusker seen in a video clip wading through a flooded Gaula river in Uttarakhand’s Nainital district has caught everyone’s attention. The video capturing the elephant’s struggle went viral on social media platforms on Tuesday. The animal was caught in the middle of the river as its water levels rose suddenly following heavy rains in Uttarakhand.
The pachyderm had a tough time trying to swim across the raging river as curious villagers gathered on the banks to see the hapless animal struggling to reach ashore and capture the moment in their mobile phone cameras.
“The forest department sprang into action the moment it came to know about the plight of the elephant caught amid the violent currents of the river. However, by the time our team reached the spot, the elephant had managed to swim ashore,” Chief Wildlife Warden JS Suhag said.
The forest staff in Nainital and surrounding areas, including the Corbett Tiger Reserve landscape, has been asked to be on the alert and launch rescue operations wherever wild animals are found stuck, he added.
Terai East Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Sandeep said the elephant got stuck in the river between Haldu Chaur and Devrampura. The movement of the animal was constantly tracked and it has now safely returned to the forests, he said.
The video has revived a debate on whether the Corbett and Rajaji tiger reserves should remain open for round-the-year tourist activities, a decision taken recently by the state government to give a boost to the sagging revenues of the two parks due to the prolonged lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Rivers and seasonal streams flow through both the Rajaji and Corbett landscapes. This is the reason the practice of closing the parks till November was started so that the wildlife there could be at peace, a green activist in Dehradun said. Parts of both the Rajaji and Corbett tiger reserves were opened for round-the-year tourist activities recently, ignoring the concerns raised by green and animal activists.
However, Suhag said the Corbett Tiger Reserve was closed for visitors on Monday in view of the meteorological department’s heavy rain alert for three days. Hotel and Resorts Welfare Association president Hari Singh Mann said tourist activities in the Corbett landscape will resume only after the network of roads in the area is improved.

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