GUWAHATI: With the steep surge in Covid-19 cases across the state, all six national parks and 18 wildlife sanctuaries in Assam have been closed by the state forest department for the visitors until further orders are issued.
The forest department’s order comes close on the heels of the advisory of ministry of forest, environment and climate change to the states, asking them to shut down all national parks and sanctuaries with immediate effect due to the alarming spread of Covid cases. The ministry, in its order, had mentioned that there had been reports of some lions dying due to the virus, owing to which the ministry felt that the virus also posed a major threat to animals living in these places.
“Pursuant to the ‘advisory’ issued by the ministry of environment forests and climate change, wildlife division, and in view of the spread of Covid-19 in Assam and possibilities of spread of the virus amongst animals in the PAs and also the transmission of the virus from human to animal and vice versa, all the national parks and sanctuaries of the state are notified closed to visitors with immediate effect until further order,” the statement issued by MK Yadava, chief wildlife warden, read.
The national parks were opened in October last year after the first wave of the pandemic had showed signs of going down.
Meanwhile, Kaziranga National Park director P Sivkumar said, “All precautionary measures have been taken for the forest employees of the park. They have been vaccinated. All Covid-19 protocols, including use of face masks and sanitisers, are being followed.” He further informed that nearly 2 lakh visitors had come to the park from October last year till its closure. “Maximum visitors were from within the country. Generally, we get more than 10,000 international tourists. However, we hardly had 500 international tourists this time due to the pandemic situation,” he added.
Manas National Park field director Amal Sarma said a total of 55,279 people visited the park from October last year till March. “55,272 were domestic, while seven were international visitors. The revenue earned during the period was Rs 1,24,97,290,” he said, adding that the park authorities had taken all the precautionary measures for the safety of the forest personnel. Earlier on April 16, a total of 55 centrally protected monuments/sites, including the historic Rang Ghar and Gaurisagar tank in Sivasagar district, were closed for visitors by the Archeological Survey of India.



Source link Timesof India

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