Assam's Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary to reopen for tourists from Nov 10

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Morigaon (Assam), Nov 6 (PTI) The Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam, known for dense population of the Great Indian Rhinoceros, will be reopened on November 10 for domestic and foreign tourists after around seven months, its Ranger, Mukul Tamuli, said on Friday.

The 38.85 sq km wildlife sanctuary on the southern bank of river Brahmaputra in Morigaon district, adjacent to Guwahati, was closed since late March due to COVID-19 pandemic and the monsoon season.

Animals, trees, forest camps and various infrastructure in Pobitora were seriously affected due to flood this year, Tamuli said.

Due to protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in late 2019, the flow of foreign tourists was almost nil during January and February this year, he said.

The official said that due to COVID-19, the wildlife sanctuary incurred huge losses this year. It generated only Rs 30 lakh, which is one-third of the previous year's earnings.

During May-June, the outbreak of anthrax also claimed the lives of 10 buffaloes, which was also a cause for concern, Tamuli said.

However, the malady was overcome and the damaged infrastructure repaired to throw open the sanctuary to visitors, the ranger said.

Israeli Ambassador Dr Ron Malka visited Pobitora three days ago and hoped that his country's people would come to the sanctuary.

Pobitora has more than 100 rhinos, 2,000 wild buffaloes, thousands of hogs, barking deer, leopards, different species of snakes and tortoises.

Besides, the advent of winter makes it a hub of migratory birds.

Its grasslands provide habitat for Assam's second- largest population of the Indian rhinoceros after the Kaziranga National Park, a World Heritage Site. PTI COR ESB SBN NN NN