Kaziranga toll goes up to 198

As floodwaters in Kaziranga National Park have started receding, officials have been discovering carcasses of animals that perished in the deluge. As of Saturday, the death toll of animals had touched 198, including 16 rhinos.
The water has not receded completely yet, with about 50% of the park's 430 sq km area still under water. It has, however, enabled officials to start assessing the damage caused by the floods.
Kaziranga director Satyendra Singh said more carcasses may surface. “Our staff can start patrolling and search operations for animals in areas which have dried up. We fear the death toll may go up as this year, the park faced one of the worst floods since 1988,“ he said.
Kaziranga, a World Heritage Site on the southern banks of the Brahmaputra, has 2,000-odd rhinos. Of the 16 rhinos that died, eight had drowned and the rest died because of old age.
Rhinos are known to be great swimmers but the ones who drowned were calves who couldn't cope with the increasing intensity of the flood. Old rhinos that died faced a similar problem. The floods had inundated nearly 90% of the area on Thursday .
Among other casualties so far, hog deer, one of the smallest deer species, tops the list with 161 having perished. While most drowned, at least 12 died when they were hit by speeding vehicles on NH-37 on the southern edge of the park as they were trying to escape the inundated park and make their way to higher grounds in the adjoining Karbi Anglong district.

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