Kaziranga opens its gates today to tourists

Published on : Friday, November 1, 2013

images (1)The northeastern Indian state, Assam’s world-famous Kaziranga National Park, will begin welcoming tourists from Friday and remain open till the end of next April, an official said.

 

“Renovations are almost finished and everything will be ready by the end of this month,” park dirctor N.K. Basu told IANS, adding that all the four ranges – Bagori, Burhapahar, Kohora and Agaratoli – will be opened for tourists from November 1 and closed on May 1 due to the rainy season.

 

“Like every year, there will be jeep safaris and elephant safaris in all the ranges of the park,” said another senior official, adding that practically all the accommodation facilities in the park’s vicinity have registered almost full occupancy for November.

 

Located about 250km from Guwahati, the park is one of the most sought after tourist destinations in the state for its one-horned rhinos. Spread over 800 sq km, the park also has a significant population of three other large herbivores – the Asian elephant, the Asiatic water buffalo and the eastern sub-species of the swamp deer.

 

A Unesco World Heritage Site, the Kaziranga National Park was declared a tiger reserve in 2006 and is recognized as an “important bird area” by Birdlife International that seeks to conserve all bird species on earth and their habitats.

 

Statistics with the park authority reveal that the park attracted over 100,000 visitors last year, including close to 16,000 foreigners.

 

The park has been in news for all the wrong reasons in the last two years due to the sudden spate of rhino poaching. While over 30 rhinos were killed in and around the park last year, 23 rhinos have been killed since January.

 

This has prompted the state government to take several steps to stop poaching like creating a sophisticated Assam Forest Protection Force (AFPF) and arming it with AK-series automatic rifles.

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