Opening of Dudhwa Tiger Reserve may be delayed due to floods
The scheduled opening of the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve (DTR) from November 1 may be further delayed following unprecedented rain and subsequent floods in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri district.
Major parts of the DTR and Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary (KWS) are flooded and authorities are reviewing the reopening plan.
Sanjay Kumar Pathak, field director of the DTR, said: "The unprecedented floods and rain have led to heavy water-logging inside the Dudhwa National Park (DNP) and the KWS. The routes and bridges inside the park, used by the tourists, have been damaged due to floods and subsequent waterlogging. Because of this, movement of tourist vehicles will not be possible on slushy and muddy jungle routes.
"We may postpone the opening of the park for a week or more till the routes and bridges are repaired to the convenience of the Dudhwa visitors. We will review the situation this week and take appropriate decision regarding opening of the park for tourism activities."
The DTR has around 105 Royal Bengal tigers, 42 one-horned rhinoceros, 400 avian species, five species of deer, including the Uttar Pradesh state animal Swamp deer, besides a number of other animals like wild tuskers, boars, beer and rich flora and fauna in its fold.
It opens every year for visitors and tourism activities in the month of November.
The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has also hit the Dudhwa tourism a great deal though it helped wild animals to flourish with no human activities inside the Reserve.
The DTR authorities expected a rich influx of tourists this season from November 1 after a reduction in Covid-19 cases.
However, the untimely rains followed by floods, caused by massive discharge of 5.3 lakh cusec water into the Sharda river from the Banbasa barrage in Uttarakhand, washed away the hopes of a thumping start of the tourism season.
While the Sharda inundated the KWS, the Soheli and Mohana have flooded almost all ranges in Dudhwa.
Field director Sanjay Kumar Pathak said that after the flood water receded, fresh exercises would be initiated to ensure all tourist amenities in the park area.
The tourists visiting DTR would have to mandatorily follow the Covid protocols.
"The tourists must cover their faces with masks and observe social distancing norms and other sanitary measures while entering the DTR area," Pathak said.
He added that this season, tourists will be allowed to enjoy elephant rides which had been suspended due to the pandemic - IANS
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