Guwahati: British royal Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, has expressed his solidarity with Assam’s devastating flood situation and the loss of several wild animals including the world famous one horned rhinoceros at the Kaziranga National Park.
In a letter written to Kaziranga National Park (KNP) Director, P. Sivakumar, Prince William mentioned his stay in the Park area and their wonderful experiences.
He wrote, “Catherine and I were heartbroken to hear about the appalling devastation to Kaziranga National Park and its precious wildlife caused by the very heavy monsoon flooding. We have the happiest memories of our visit to Kaziranga in April 2016 and are shocked by what has happened. The death of so many animals, including one-horned rhino, is deeply upsetting.”
The royal couple visited the Park in April 2016. They went to the Dunga and Rowmari Forest camps mostly inhabited by rhinos and tigers in the park.
They had breakfast at Bimoli camp and interacted with the Park frontline staff asking about the habits of rhinos and elephants, the officials said. They also enquired about the anti-poaching measures and if they were satisfied with the efforts.
Prince William had enquired about the challenges they faced in their efforts to keep the animals safe from poachers and if they required superior weapons.
In the letter, he added, “We know from our visit how dedicated all the staffs in Kaziranga are in caring for the Park’s wildlife, and can only begin to imagine what a difficult time this must be. Catherine and I greatly admire all the work that you and the rangers at Kaziranga are doing to risk your own safety, rescue animals and contain the damage.”
He said that the loss of life and livelihoods in Assam as a result of the flooding, coming on top of the Covid-19 pandemic, was deeply distressing. “We offer our deepest condolences to all those affected,” he concluded.
Replying to the letter from the royal family, State’s environment and forest minister Parimal Suklabaidya, took to his Twitter and thanked them. He tweeted: “My sincere gratitude towards His Royal Highness Prince William & Kensington Palace for their deep concerns on the flood situation of Kaziranga National Park & Tiger Reserve. Your admiring words towards the ever dedicated staff of KNP will empower them with more encouragement for safeguarding the park.”
Till Friday morning, over 85 percent of the Park area remained inundated.
Flood in Assam has so far claimed the lives of at least 93 persons and 125 animals in the Park. This year flood has affected over 50 lakh population in the state displacing several thousand.