| The NGO members at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation on Saturday. Telegraph picture |
Jorhat, July 8: The floods this time may have left several hundred Kaziranga National Park animals dead, but it also spawned hope for those that survived.
A group of youths from Mariani, which was on its way to Guwahati at the height of the devastation, was moved by the plight of the animals — either injured after being hit by vehicles or taking shelter on National Highway 37.
On returning home, the youths formed an NGO, We D Marianians, raised funds from among themselves and well-wishers to do something for these animals.
Yesterday, they went to the national park with powdered milk (Nestogen), gram and rice and donated the consignment to the authorities of the International Fund for Animal Welfare-run Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC), popularly known as the animal rescue centre.
“We are touched by the gesture of this group of youths. This is the first time that any citizen group in Assam has donated relief material to the centre. It feels good that the people, especially youths, are realising the fact that it is not only the people who are affected by floods but also animals, that they need help,” said Sashanka Barbaruah, a CWRC official.
Over 500 animals of the national park perished during the floods this time. The figure may go up, since a large portion of the park is still under water.
Barbaruah said the relief material donated by the group would be a great help for the two rhino calves and two elephant calves which were rescued during the floods. “The four calves are between one and two years and their main diet is milk. We need a large quantity of milk to feed them,” Barbaruah said.
The four calves need to be fed milk every two hours and eight to 10 times — about 2.5 litres each time — in a day.
He said the adult animals currently undergoing treatment at the centre were being fed gram and rice. Eight elephants and six rhinos are being treated at the centre at present.
Pallab Baruah, a degree second year student of Mariani College and a member of the NGO, said he had heard about the misery of the animals of Kaziranga National Park during floods but this time he had witnessed their plight. “Seeing was believing for us. We were moved by their utter helplessness and decided to do something for them and hence, the NGO. The NGO is yet to be registered and we will continue to work for the welfare of the animals,” he said.
We D Marianians has 26 members comprising young businessmen and students of Mariani town in Jorhat district. Mariani is known for its railway junction.
Pallab said the NGO had also decided to travel soon to the flood-hit Jhanjimukh area where various diseases are afflicting cattle.