Rajkot: Wildlife lovers planning to visit the Little Rann of Kutch to see the Indian wild ass are likely to return disappointed.
Even as the wild ass sanctuary opened for public on October 16, majority of the area is flooded due to the recent bout of incessant rainfall. Tourists can go barely half a km inside, rendering their visit useless.
Bajana is the main entrance to this sanctuary due to the interpretation centre that is thronged by tourists. However, people are unable to take their car at present due to heavy water logging. It is only by foot that they can go inside that too for just about half a km. Tourists generally prefer to to visit Bhikhasari lake towards Janjuda and Nanda Beyt area near Aadear.
When contacted, SS Asoda, deputy conservator of forest, wild ass sanctuary said, “The heavy water logging is natural due to heavy rainfall this year. At present, tourists can go inside for just about half a km. In the next 15 days, they will be able to go up to three km . But it will take time for the water to recede completely.”
“We expect more tourists in January and February by when the water will recede in most parts,” said Asoda.
The sanctuary is spread in an area of 5,000 square km of Little Rann of Kutch (LRK). According to the last census done in 2014, there are nearly 4,500 wild asses moving in this sanctuary area. The animals is endangered and protected under Wildlife Protection Act. The sanctuary remains open for the tourists from October 16 to June 15. According to forest department, nearly 25,000 tourists visited the sanctuary last year.
Besides the wild ass, several species of migratory birds that flock here are a major attraction for tourists, especially in the winters. The wild ass seen here is one of the three surviving species in the world. LRK is a home to nearly 350 species of birds.