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Flooding downpours to threaten endangered rhinos as India monsoon continues

By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
July 15, 2017, 11:09:26 AM EDT

Monsoon flooding will continue to threaten people and animals across northeastern India into next week.

The monsoon has already caused deadly flooding in northeastern India, including at least 53 people in Assam state, according to the Bangladesh News 24 Hours.

The heavy rainfall in Assam has also flooded the Kaziranga National Park, home to the world’s largest one-horned rhinoceros population.

AP1 7/11

Kaziranga National Park has the world's largest population of the one-horned rhinoceros and is home to many other wildlife. (AP Photo/ Anupam Nath)


The one-horned rhino is currently facing a high risk of extinction in the wild, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

The flooding has forced animals to flee to higher ground to escape the floodwaters; however, not all animals have been able to escape as a rhino was found dead in the rising waters over the weekend.

Two more rhinos drowned in the flooding on Tuesday, according to the Times of India. Nearly 60 other animals have been killed in the recent flooding.

Aside from the danger of the floodwaters, the threat of poachers hunting the rhinos is elevated since the animals are unable to flee through flooded areas and some may be forced off the protected park acreage.

AP2 7/11

One horned Rhinos take shelter on higher ground of a flooded Kaziranga national park in Kaziranga, 250 kilometers (156 miles) east of Gauhati, India, Monday, July 10, 2017. (AP Photo/ Anupam Nath)


The park has employed the use of drones to follow the rhinos to areas that can't be viewed by park rangers during the flooding. The drones are also being used to detect any poachers in the area.

Monsoon flooding last year resulted in the death of 17 one-horned rhinos within the park, according to the Associated Press.

A monsoon low that contributed to the flooding in Assam will track over northwest India through Sunday causing a significant risk for flooding.

India 7/15


Following a wet first two days of July, drier-than-normal weather settled over Mumbai, but that changed on Friday as downpours returned.

Areas from Mumbai to Vadodara, Indore and Rajkot will all be at risk for flooding through at least Sunday.

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Total rainfall of 100-200 mm (4-8 inches) will be common from Mumbai to Vadodara, Ahmedabad and Rajkot with local amounts over 300 mm (12 inches).

While the rainfall is needed across the region, torrential downpours will bring the threat for dangerous flash flooding and mudslides.

A second monsoon low could bring flooding to parts of eastern India through at least the middle of the week.

Southern Odisha, Chhattisgarh and northern Andhra Pradesh could all see rounds of downpours with local amounts over 200 mm (8 inches) through Wednesday.

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