KAZIRANGA NATIONAL PARK AND WILDLIFE AREAS IN ASSAM AND ARUNACHAL PRADESH

WILDLIFE AREA NEAR GUWAHATI

Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary (15 kilometers from Guwahati) is spread out over 78.64 square kilometers and has a wide variety of birds and mammals, including flying fox, slow loris, leopard, rhesus macaque, capped langur, jungle cat, greater adjutant, wild pig, sambar, barking deer, gaur, porcupine, slender-billed vulture, python, lesser-pied hornbill, monitor lizard and Indian cobra. Visitors can engage in activities like trekking, rock climbing, zip lining and mountain rappelling. Amchang was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 2004.

Deepor Beel Wildlife Sanctuary (10 kilometers from Guwahati) embraces an important riverine wetlands in the Brahmaputra Valley. Shortlisted as an Important Bird Area site by Birdlife International, Deepor Beel is the natural habitat of about 219 varieties of birds and 70 species of migratory birds. Some of the threatened birds one can spot here include Pallas’ sea eagle, spot-billed pelican, lesser adjutant stork, greater adjutant stork and Baer’s Pochard. Tourists can also spot fauna like Asian elephants, leopards, sambar, barking deer and Chinese porcupine. Moreover, the park is home to about 20 species of amphibians, 12 kinds of lizards, 18 varieties of snakes and tortoise and turtles, along with 50 kinds of fishes. The best time to visit is from October to March.

Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary (40 kilometers east of Guwahati) covers 38.81 square kilometers and is a microcosm of Kaziranga and is often referred to as the national park’s show window. The sanctuary is home to a sizeable population of the endangered one-horned rhinoceros. Ensconced in the grasslands of Assam, it the sanctuary is a birdwatcher's haven as one can find a wide variety of birds. The wetlands host birds like the greater adjutant, lesser adjutant, swamp francolin, white-bellied heron etc. River dolphins are sometimes spotted in the Brahmaputra river here.

Kaziranga National Park

Kaziranga National Park (120 kilometers east of Guwahati, 100 kilometers west of Jorhat in Assam) contains more than three quarters of all the one-horned Indian rhinoceroses that remain in the wild (about 3,200 animals) as well as large numbers of tigers and elephants. The number of rhinos grew from 366 in 1966 to 1,080 in 1984 to 1,500 in 2000 to around 2,500 today. Few visitors leave the park without having seen a rhino. Kazirnaga was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985..

Nestled between the Brahmaputra River and the Mikir Hills, with the Himalayas in the distance, Kazirnaga covers 430 square kilometers (260 square miles) and is located on a long, spongy flood plain of the Brahmaputra. It is primarily open country, which gives visitors a good opportunity to see wildlife, and covered with elephant grass, up to ten feet tall, and swampy ground fed by numerous creeks. The park is surrounded by ancient temples, pristine waterfalls and lush tea estates.

Kazirnaga was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1959 and a national park in 1974. Some want to expand the park from 430 to 884 square kilometers. Villagers who live around the park have to put up with tiger attacks, rampaging elephants and other problems. The park has a very strict anti-poaching policy. The rhinos are closely watched and the rangers are given fairly large salaries to keep them from taking bribes. Even so about 30 rhinos are killed illegally every year.

According to UNESCO: Kaziranga National Park “is one of the last areas in eastern India undisturbed by a human presence. It is inhabited by the world's largest population of one-horned rhinoceroses, as well as many mammals, including tigers, elephants, panthers and bears, and thousands of birds. The site is on the southern bank of the Brahmaputra River at the foot of the Mikir Hills. The park lies in the flood plains of the Brahmaputra. The riverine habitat consists primarily of tall, dense grasslands interspersed with open forests, interconnecting streams and numerous small lakes (bheels ). Three-quarters or more of the area is submerged annually by the flood waters of the Brahmaputra. Soils are alluvial deposits of the Brahmaputra and its tributaries. [Source: UNESCO World Heritage Site website]

“There are three main types of vegetation: alluvial inundated grasslands, tropical wet evergreen forests and tropical semi-evergreen forests. Grasslands predominate in the west, with tall 'elephant' grasses on the higher ground and short grasses on the lower ground surrounding the bheels . They have been maintained by annual flooding and burning over thousands of years. Tropical wet evergreen forests, near Kanchanjhuri, Panbari and Tamulipathar blocks, are dominated by trees. Tropical semi-evergreen forests occur near Baguri, Bimali and Haldibari.

Wildlife in Kaziranga National Park

In addition to being home of two-thirds of the world's population of one-horned rhinoceros (with also includes small numbers of Javan and Sumatran rhinos found in Indonesia), Kaziranga National Park’s wetlands, forests and grasslands are also home to a sizeable population of tigers and although they spotting one is difficult people do regularly see them. Many snakes, including rock python, reticulated python and the king cobra, the longest venomous snake, can be seen. Eastern swamp deer and wild water buffalo are common sights. If you're lucky might you may see a herd of elephants. The elephants have a reputation for drinking alcohol in the form of fermented, rotted fruit and making trouble. They mostly drink in the winter, locals say to fend off the cold, and occasionally tear up a village outside the park..

Among the birds and animals found in the park are wild buffalo, tiger, barasingha, wild boar, chital, gaur, otter, sloth bear, leopard, rock python, monitor lizard, crested serpent egret, green parakeets, grey-headed fishing eagle, swamp partridge, red jungle fowl, Bengal florican, bar-headed goose, whistling teal, egret, heron, black-necked stork, adjutant stork and open-billed stork.

According to UNESCO: “The park contains about 15 species of India's threatened mammals. It harbours the world's largest population of Indian rhinoceros and Indian elephant Other mammals include capped langur, a small population of hoolock gibbon, tiger Panthera tigris , leopard, sloth bear, Ganges dolphin, otter, wild boar, water buffalo, gaur, sambar, swamp deer, hog deer and Indian muntjac. Elephants and other animals migrate with the advent of the monsoon and head southwards to the Mikir Hills and beyond to avoid the annual flooding of the national park.

The numerous water bodies are rich reservoirs of food (including fish) and thousands of migratory birds, representing over 100 species, visit the park seasonally from as far afield as Siberia. There is a grey pelican rookery near Kaziranga Village. Other birds of interest include black-necked stork, lesser adjutant stork, Pallas's fish eagle, grey-headed fish eagle, Bengal florican, swamp partridge, grey peacock-pheasant, great pied hornbill, green imperial pigeon, silver-breasted broadbill and Jerdon's bushchat. The birds comprises over 300 species. The reptilian fauna include water monitor, Indian python, common cobra and king cobra are present.

Rhinos in Kaziranga National Park

Acensus in Kaziranga National Park in 2018 counted 2,413 one-horned rhinos, 12 more than in 2015, and up from 1,100 in 1988. The species found at Kaziranga is the Indian rhinoceros---also called greater one-horned rhinoceros and Asian one-horned rhinoceros. It is different from Sumatran and Javan one-horned rhinos in Indonesia. The Indian species has thick, silver-brown skin which creates huge folds all over its body. Its upper legs and shoulders are covered in wart-like bumps, and it has very little body hair. Fully grown males are larger than females in the wild, weighing from 2,500 to 3,200 kilograms (5,500 to 7,100 pounds). Female Indian rhinos weigh about 1,900 kilograms. The single horn of the Indian rhino reaches a length of between 20 and 100 centimeters. Males have larger, tusklike incisors for fighting other males during the breeding season.

The Indian rhinoceros is the second largest animal in Asia after the Asian elephant. It stands at 1.75 to 2.0 meters (5.75 to 6.5 feet) at the shoulder and are three to four meters long. The largest one ever recorded weight approximately 3,800 kilograms. Its size is comparable to that of the white rhino in Africa. The Indian rhino is a creature of habit. Every evening it visits regular sites to wallow in the mud. The deeps folds in its skin create a plating effect, making the animal look as if is wearing armor, which is accentuated by tubercles (lumps), especially on the sides and rear. These resemble rivets. The pink skin within the folds is vulnerable to parasites. These are sometimes removed by egrets and tick birds. Indian rhinos have very little body hair aside from eyelashes, ear fringes and tail brush.

The Indian rhinoceros is usually found in areas of tall grass, an environment also favored by tigers. The grasses can grow as tall as eight meters high in the wet season and serve as a hiding place and a primary sources of food. These rhinos tend to feed mainly at twilight and at night, curling their upper lip around the stems to bend and bite the tend tips. They are also the most aquatic rhino. They are often seen wading or swimming, in wide rivers. A typical rhino has a territory of two to eight square kilometers, whose size is dependant on the availability of food and the quality of the habitat. Males are tolerant of intruders into their territory outside the breeding season. A single calf is usually born after a 16 month gestation period. It typically stays with the mother until her next offspring is born, which may be three years later.

On the elephant safaris visitors begin gathering in the dark around 4:00am at a place in the park not far from the main road to Guwahati and climb a special viewing tower that allows them to easily get seated on the top of an elephant, with about four or six people and a mahout on each elephant. The mahouts guide the elephants by pressing their feet behind the animal’s ears. One doesn’t have to travel far through the grasslands, with groups of trees here and there, to find the rhinoceroses. The rhinos and elephant seem fairly tolerant of each other so tourists get fairly close to the rhinos, even mothers with single calves. Herds of wild buffalo, wild pigs, deer and a variety of birds are also seen. After about an hour and half or two hours tourists go to a different tower in a different place to get off the elephants. About a dozen or two dozen or so elephants are used for these safaris. When they are not carrying people their legs are shackled so they don’t wander too far away.

Many visitors stay at a converted British-era tea estate or guest houses near the main Guwahati road. There are a handful of restaurants here also. Visitors typically arrive at the park in the evening, sign up and pay for an elephant safari (about US$30), if they haven’t already, the next morning.. To get to some viewing spots the elephant cross rivers in which water passes their bellies, almost to the feet of people on their back. The rhinos are used to visitors and rarely flinch and keep on eating elephant grass when the elephant approach as close as five meters to them.

Hikes are offered. The jeep safaris (around US$30 with guide) last a couple of hours. The main goal often is to find a tiger. Sometimes this a achieved by easing up on a water hole where animals gather. Most people don’t see a tiger and those that do often just see a flash of orange in the distance. But there are plenty of rhinos. You can usually see them at different places, doing different things while the guides tell amusing stories about their sex life and courting habits as well as disturbing ones about poaching, rhinos killing rangers and animals killed by floods.

Among the birds and animals seen in the park are wild buffalo, tiger, barasingha, wild boar, chital, gaur, otter, sloth bear, leopard, rock python, monitor lizard, crested serpent egret, green parakeets, grey-headed fishing eagle, swamp partridge, red jungle fowl, Bengal florican, bar-headed goose, whistling teal, egret, heron, black-necked stork, adjutant stork and open-billed stork. On my two-hour jeep safari my guide took me to a place where a rock python was resting in the jungle for a couple of days after a big meal. Some people stay for several days in the park and go on a half dozen or more safaris. I arrived in the evening after a morning flight to Guwahati, went on elephant and jeep safaris early the next morning and was on my way at 11:00am, making it to my destination in Nagaland in the evening.

Getting There: The easiest way to Kaziranga National Park is in a hired SUV with a driver for US$50 to US100 a day, from Guwahati, 1bout 120 kilometers away. The drivers are generally not allowed to take their vehicles in the park; you have to go separately with a guide authorized by the park. By Air: Rowriah Airport in Jorhat is the nearest airport, around 50 kilometers away and only operates domestic flights. The airport in By Road: The nearest bus stand is at Numaligar, around 30 kilometers away and there are no bus routes to Kaziranga from other major cities in the state. By Train: Furkating, around 75 away, is the nearest railway station. It is connected from Guwahati by a number of trains.

Poachers and Conservation at Kaziranga National Park

Kaziranga National Park has a problem with poachers. Many are after the rhinoceros horn. The park has a shoot to kill policy. One guard told Travel & Leisure magazine, “ We don’t catch the poachers’s alive. We shoot them, from a distance or up close. If we hand them over alive, they’ll pay 5,000 rupees [$110] to police and walk out, and come back. We all get excited by the hunt when we’re after the poachers.”

The guard then explained how they caught two poachers in a boat and few nights earlier: one was shot dead and one fell off the boat is presumed dead. When the guard was asked if he had any second thought about killing the poachers, he said, “No. It’s because of them that we don’t know day from night, working out here in the jungle 24 hours. They are our enemies.”

A senior officer at the park explain that when he arrived at the park many rhinos were being killed. On one particularly bad night he counted five dead rhinos. After that he stepped up patrols and made other changes and 13 poachers were killed in a six month period. He said, “It’s better to kill than be killed, its better to be on the offensive than defensive.

In 1986 poachers killed 41 rhinos. In 2000 only two were killed. Between 1990 and 2000. A total of 80 poachers were killed. Poachers aren’t the only danger the rhinos face. In 1998, 39 were drowned when the Brahmaputra River overflowed its banks. The floods were exacerbated by erosion and deforestation in the area. Other animals have been killed in other devastating floods. Around 15 rhinos, 185 deer and at least one Royal Bengal tiger were killed in August, 2017.

Near Kaziranga National Park

Gohpur (7.5 kilometers from the Kaziranga National Park) is a tiny town with historical significance for the people of Assam. The town is famous for being the birthplace of legendary freedom fighter Kanaklata Barua, who was shot during the Quit India Movement. Barua's statue still stands as a testament to Assam's role in India's freedom struggle.

Deoparbat (five kilometers from Numaligarh, 64 kilometers from Kaziranga National Park) is a set archeological excavations and ruins located the Deoparbat Hill that date to the 8th and 9th centuries. According to legend, the hilltop used to be home to a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva that was left completely damaged after a major earthquake. In addition to numerous ancient relics and monuments, Deoparbat also offers majestic views of the nearby Kabi Anglong Hills and the lush green Numaligarh tea estate. Tourists can easily book taxis from the to reach Deoparbat ruins, which are a treat for travelers from all walks of life.

Hathikuli Tea Estate is a vast tea plantation that was initially owned by James Finlay and Company, which came to Assam from Scotland. Visiting the estate will give you a chance to try various kinds of tea like orthodox tea, black pepper tea and organic green tea, which are all produced here. The present-day plantation has been turned completely organic since it falls under the same ecological zone as the Kaziranga National Park. The name 'Hathikuli' is taken from Assamese words, 'hathi' meaning elephant and 'kuli' meaning frequently. Together, it means a place visited frequently by elephants. The tea gardens stretch for 15 kilometers along the NH37 highway. The tea estate falls in two districts- Golaghat and Karbi-Anglong. Hathikuli is often visited by wild animals and birds.

Kakochang Waterfall (13 kilometers from Bokakhat) is a popular family picnic spot in an area brimming with coffee and rubber plantations. It can be easily reached from Bokakhat. A four-kilometers hike takes you to its base. The waterfall plummets from a great height and is at its roaring best during the monsoon season.

Manas Wildlife Sanctuary

Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (200 kilometers west-northwest of Guwahati) is a 391 square kilometers (150 square miles) straddles the Manas River, which divides the lush mixed forests that run through India and Bhutan. The reserve protects 20 species of birds and animals that are listed as highly endangered, including the rare golden langur monkey. Other animal seen here include Indian elephant, red panda , hispid hare, pygmy hog, capped langur monkey, Indian one-horned rhinoceros, wild water buffalo, gaur, hog deer, tiger, clouded leopard, sloth bear, chital, barking deer, sambar, swamp deer, fishing eagle, osprey, scarlet minivet, red jungle fowl, kaleej pheasant, Bengal florican, great pied hornbill, wreathed hornbill, greater adjutant, merganser, brahminy duck, egrets, pelicans and herons. There are about 20 Indian one-horned rhinoceros here compared to 2,400 or so in Kaziranga National Park.

Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, where tropical forests meet alluvial grasslands, Manas Wildlife Sanctuary offers wild animal safaris and is a great place for birdwatching and observing aquatic life in the Manas River. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985 According to UNESCO: “On a gentle slope in the foothills of the Himalayas, where wooded hills give way to alluvial grasslands and tropical forests, the Manas sanctuary is home to a great variety of wildlife, including many endangered species, such as the tiger, pygmy hog, Indian rhinoceros and Indian elephant.

“Manas takes its name from the Goddess Manasa. The site is noted for its spectacular scenery, with a variety of habitat types that support a diverse fauna, making it the richest of all Indian wildlife areas. The park represents the core of an extensive tiger reserve that protects an important migratory wildlife resource along the West Bengal to Arunachal Pradesh and Bhutan borders. Its wetlands are of international importance. It is also the single most important site for the survival of pygmy hog, hispid hare and golden langur. Manas (previously also known as North Kamrup) was declared a sanctuary on 1 October 1928, parts of it having been notified as reserved forests in 1907 and 1927. It was established as the core of the Manas Tiger Reserve with effect from April 1973. Upgrading of the sanctuary to national park status is being considered.

“Manas is recognized not only for its rich biodiversity but also for its spectacular scenery and natural landscape. Manas is located at the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas. The northern boundary of the park is contiguous to the international border of Bhutan manifested by the imposing Bhutan hills. It spans on either side of the majestic Manas river flanked in the east and the west by reserved forests. The tumultuous river swirling down the rugged mountains in the backdrop of forested hills coupled with the serenity of the alluvial grasslands and tropical evergreen forests offers a unique wilderness experience.”

Manas Wildlife Sanctuary Ecosystem

According to UNESCO: “Manas Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Assam in Northeast India, a biodiversity hotspot. Covering an area of 39,100 hectares, it spans the Manas river and is bounded to the north by the forests of Bhutan. The Manas Wildlife Sanctuary is part of the core zone of the 283,700 hectares Manas Tiger Reserve, and lies alongside the shifting river channels of the Manas River. The site’s scenic beauty includes a range of forested hills, alluvial grasslands and tropical evergreen forests. The site provides critical and viable habitats for rare and endangered species, including tiger, greater one-horned rhino, swamp deer, pygmy hog and Bengal florican. Manas has exceptional importance within the Indian sub-continent’s protected areas, as one of the most significant remaining natural areas in the region, where sizeable populations of a large number of threatened species continue to survive. [Source: UNESCO World Heritage Site website]

“The park, which includes part of Manas Reserve Forest and all of North Kamrup Reserve Forest, constitutes the core of Manas Tiger Reserve located in the forest divisions of Kachugaon, Haltugaon, Western Assam Wildlife and North Kamrup. Lying in the foothills of the Outer Himalaya, the area is low-lying and flat. The Manas River flows through the western portion of the park, where it splits into three separate rivers, and joins the Brahmaputra some 64 kilometers further south. These and other rivers running through the tiger reserve carry an enormous amount of silt and rock debris from the foothills, resulting from the heavy rainfall, fragile nature of the rock and steep-gradients of the catchments. This leads to the formation of alluvial terraces, comprising deep layers of deposited rock and detritus overlain with sand and soil of varying depth, shifting river channels and swamps. The area of the Boki basin, in the west of the park, is sometimes inundated during the monsoon. The three main types of vegetation are: tropical semi-evergreen forests in the northern part of the park; tropical moist and dry deciduous forests (the most common type); and extensive alluvial grasslands in the western part of the park. There is also a considerable variety of aquatic flora along river banks and in the numerous pools. Dry deciduous forests represent early stages in succession and are replaced by moist deciduous forests away from water courses, which, in turn, are succeeded by tropical semi-evergreen climax forest. Grasslands cover about 50 percent of the park.

“The Manas-Beki system is the major river system flowing through the property and joining the Brahmaputra river further downstream. These and other rivers carry an enormous amount of silt and rock debris from the foothills resulting from the heavy rainfall, fragile nature of the rock and steep gradients of the catchments. This leads to the formation of alluvial terraces, comprising deep layers of deposited rock and detritus overlain by sandy loam and a layer of humus represented by bhabar tracts in the north. The terai tract in the south consists of fine alluvial deposits with underlying pans where the water table lies near to the surface. The area contained by the Manas-Beki system gets inundated during the monsoons but flooding does not last long due to the sloping relief. The monsoon and river system form four principal geological habitats: Bhabar savannah, Terai tract, marshlands and riverine tracts. The dynamic ecosystem processes support broadly three types of vegetation: semi-evergreen forests, mixed moist and dry deciduous forests and alluvial grasslands. The dry deciduous forests represent an early stage in succession that is constantly renewed by floods and is replaced by moist decidous forests away from water courses, which in turn are replaced by semi evergreen climax forests. The vegetation of Manas has tremendous regenerating and self-sustaining capabilities due to its high fertility and response to natural grazing by herbivorous animals.”

Wildlife and Plants in Manas Wildlife Sanctuary

Manas Wildlife Sanctuary protects 20 species of birds and animals that are listed as highly endangered, including the rare golden langur monkey. Other animal seen here include Indian elephant, red panda , hispid hare, pygmy hog, capped langur monkey, Indian one-horned rhinoceros, wild water buffalo, gaur, hog deer, tiger, clouded leopard, sloth bear, chital, barking deer, sambar, swamp deer, fishing eagle, osprey, scarlet minivet, red jungle fowl, kaleej pheasant, Bengal florican, great pied hornbill, wreathed hornbill, greater adjutant, merganser, brahminy duck, egrets, pelicans and herons. There are about 20 Indian one-horned rhinoceros here compared to 2,400 or so in Kaziranga National Park.

According to UNESCO: “The Manas Wildlife Sanctuary provides habitat for 22 of India’s most threatened species of mammals. In total, there are nearly 60 mammal species, 42 reptile species, 7 amphibians and 500 species of birds, of which 26 are globally threatened. Noteworthy among these are the elephant, tiger, greater one-horned rhino, clouded leopard, sloth bear, and other species. The wild buffalo population is probably the only pure strain of this species still found in India. It also harbours endemic species like pygmy hog, hispid hare and golden langur as well as the endangered Bengal florican. The range of habitats and vegetation also accounts for high plant diversity that includes 89 tree species, 49 shrubs, 37 undershrubs, 172 herbs and 36 climbers. Fifteen species of orchids, 18 species of fern and 43 species of grasses that provide vital forage to a range of ungulate species also occur here.

A total of 55 mammals, 36 reptiles and three amphibians have been recorded Manas harbours by far the greatest number of India's Schedule I mammals of any protected area in the country. Many are typical of Southeast Asian rainforest and have their westernmost distribution here. Mammals include golden langur, a recently discovered endemic restricted to Manas, capped langur, Hoolock gibbon, clouded leopard, tiger (second-largest population in India), leopard, golden cat, fishing cat, leopard cat, marbled cat, binturong, sloth bear, wild dog, Ganges dolphin, Indian elephant, Indian rhinoceros, pygmy hog, swamp deer, sambar, hog deer, Indian muntjac, water buffalo, gaur, giant squirrel, hispid hare and Indian pangolin.

Over 450 species of bird have been recorded, including the threatened Bengal florican, great pied hornbill, wreathed hornbill and other hornbills. Uncommon waterfowl species include spot-billed pelican, lesser adjutant and greater adjutant. Reptiles include a variety of snakes, gharial and monitor lizard. Assam roofed turtle has recently been recorded.

The species listed below represent a small sample of iconic and/or IUCN Red Listed animals and plants found in the property. Pithraj tree (Aphanamixis polystachya); Gaur (Bos gaurus); Hispid Hare (Caprolagus hispidus); Pied Harrier (Circus melanoleucos); Dhole (Cuon alpinus); Dipterocarpus gracilis Rein Snake (Elaphe frenata), Green Trinket; Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus); Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus); Bengal Bustard (Houbaropsis bengalensis).

Conservation in Manas Wildlife Sanctuary

Manas Wildlife Sanctuary property is a wildlife sanctuary with a focus on maintaining the integrity its natural area. According to UNESCO: “It forms the core of a larger national park, the boundaries of which are clearly demarcated and supervised. Manas Wildlife Sanctuary is buffered on the north by the Royal Manas National Park of Bhutan and on the east and west less effectively by the Manas Tiger Reserve. Transboundary cooperation is therefore important to the effectiveness of its protection.

“The property, which has six national and international designations (i.e. World Heritage Site, National Park, Tiger Reserve (core), Biosphere Reserve (national), Elephant Reserve (core) and Important Bird Area) has the highest legal protection and strong legislative framework under the provisions of Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and Indian Forest Act, 1927/Assam Forest Regulation 1891. The property benefits from government support at both national and regional levels as well as involvement of national and international conservation organizations.

“The property is managed under the administration of the Assam Forest Department / Bodoland Territorial Council. A comprehensive and approved Management Plan is an essential requirement, together with effective patrolling and enforcement capacity to deal with the threats of encroachment, grazing and poaching. The provision of adequate infrastructure, skilled personnel and monitoring arrangements for the property are all essential requirements. Scientific research and monitoring for habitat and invasive species management and recovery of wildlife populations is a particular imperative for management to ascertain and maintain the Outstanding Universal Value of the property. The property is home to 400 varieties of wild rice, also making the management of its biodiversity values of high importance to food security.

“Provision of effective tourism facilities, visitor information and interpretation is also a priority for the park management. A sustainable financing mechanism needs to be ensured to provide the necessary financial resources for the long term management of the property. The surrounding buffer zones are managed on a multiple use basis, and a balance is required between conservation and resource extraction in the management of these areas. Involvement of local communities who live and make use of the areas adjacent to the reserve in protection efforts for the property is essential, and a key management objective is to enhance their engagement and awareness in the interest of the preservation of the property. There is potential to extend the property to coincide with the boundaries of the national park of which it forms the core. The establishment of a transboundary world heritage property across the Indian and Bhutanese Manas Tiger Conservation Landscape would enable greater coordination and cooperation in the management of habitat and wildlife populations and would strengthen protection as well.”

Namdapha National Park

Namdapha National Park(500 kilometers east of Guwahati) is located where tropical rain forests collide with rugged and remote eastern fringes of the Himalayas, It is home to tigers, leopards, snow leopards, clouded leopards, hoolock gibbon and many other animals. There are a few hiking trails through virgin rain forests but not so many and few hut-style places to stay. You are best bringing your own food. It is often difficult to spot animals as the forests are so thick, the terrain so rugged and animals are wary of humans and can sense them approaching

Namdapha National Park was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2006 According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “Namdapha National Park, Kamlang Wildlife Sanctuary and Jairampur Forest Division are located within India’s northeastern frontier state–Arunachal Pradesh. Among the last great remote wilderness areas of Asia, Namdapha and its adjoining areas, is flanked by the Patkai hills to the south and southeast and by the Himalaya in the north. The area lies close to the Indo-Myanmar-China trijunction. Forests are contiguous across the international boundary with Myanmar, with several adjoining protected areas, including the huge recently declared Hukawng Valley Tiger Reserve (Rabinowitz 2001, 2004). [Source: Nature Conservation Foundation and Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecologyand Environment]

“The entire area is mountainous and comprises the catchment of the Noa-Dihing River, a tributary of the great Brahmaputra river which flows westwards through the middle of Namdapha. Numerous streams drain into the Noa-Dihing and forest pools and natural salt licks are abundant in the area. The park spans a wide altitudinal range from 200 meters to 4,571 meters at Dapha Bum, the highest point in the park. The terrain is steep and inaccessible. Interior and higher areas have not been explored, except by hunters from local communities.

“It is bordered on the north by the Kamlang Wildlife Sanctuary (550m to 4200 meters), Lohit district. To the east and southeast lie the Patkai hill ranges and the international border with Myanmar. To the southeast are unclassified state forest (USF) areas (c. 700 square kilometers) of the Vijaynagar circle. To the west, are Reserved Forests and USF areas of the Jairampur Forest Division. Kamlang WLS is bounded on the north, it is bounded by the Lang river and later by the Lati, to the south lies the Changlang-Lohit district boundary and on its western side, the Tawai Brai up to its confluence with the Kamlang river. The area is mostly steep mountainous terrain, with few gentle slopes crisscrossed by numerous rivers (Lai, Lati, Lang and Kamlang), rivulets and perennial streams.”

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: India tourism website ( incredibleindia.org), India’s Ministry of Tourism and other government websites, UNESCO, Wikipedia, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Yomiuri Shimbun and various books and other publications.

Updated in August 2020

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