Assam's Kaziranga National Park reopens to tourists

The Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve in Assam is reopening after the longest closure since the Covid-19 outbreak in Assam.

The Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve in Assam, a UNESCO World Heritage site, reopens for tourists on Wednesday after the longest closure of over six months. The wildlife sanctuary was closed in view of the Coronavirus pandemic which first case in the state was detected on March 31.

Famous for its one-horned rhinos and tigers, the Kaziranga National Park will be reopened to the public, but this time with strict COVID-19 precautionary measures in place. Wearing of masks, using hand sanitizers, and maintaining physical distancing will be compulsory for all visitors. Only a limited number of jeep safaris will be allowed at a time.

However, only two ranges have been opened up for tourists – Kohora Range and Bagori Range – where jeep safari will be permitted and elephant safari will start from November 1. Owing to poor road conditions, the other ranges continue to be shut.

According to the census held in March 2018 which was jointly conducted by the Forest Department of the Government of Assam and some wildlife NGOs, the rhino population in Kaziranga National Park was 2,413.

Kaziranga, which was established as a reserve forest in 1905, is also recognized as an imporatnt bird area by Bired Life International for conservation of avifaunal species

The forest authority said that it is planning to add five more new tourist destinations in the Kaziranga National Park and all the new activities will resume from November 1.

Five national parks and 18 wildlife sanctuaries in Assam have been closed since the Covid-19 outbreak in the state.

First Published:Oct. 21, 2020, 3:19 p.m.

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