Five National Parks of Assam
Assam is one of the lands comprising of the seven sisters. Blessed richly with diverse flora and fauna. Geographically made up of The Eastern Hills of The Northern Himalayas and The Brahmaputra Plains, Assam has copious forests. With the tropical monsoon rainfall type of climate Assam is one of the greenest states of the country. Because of its profuse forests Assam witnesses ample of rare species that seek shelter in the greens of the nature. Assam’s rich biodiversity has an enormous wildlife of flora and fauna, that draws a lot of wildlife lovers to this state.
Assam has five national parks, viz. Kaziranga National Park, Manas National park, Orang National Park, Dibru-Saikhowa National Park, Nameri National Park and 18 wildlife sanctuaries. These protected area of Assam considered as one of the important wildlife areas for the protection of primate diversity and flora and fauna.
Kaziranga National Park
This famous national park of Assam is situated in the Golaghat and Nagaon districts of the state of Assam, India. It is located on the banks of the Brahamputra River. Covering an area of approximately 430 sq. kms is recognized as an Important Bird Area of the world.
The Kaziranga Park is one of the oldest National parks in Assam, being declared as National Park in 1974. Kaziranga was originally established as a reserved forest in 1908. Later, it was converted in to a game sanctury till 1938. A forest conservationist, P. D. Stracey renamed this sanctury to Kaziranga Wildlife Sanctuary in 1950.
Kaziranga was declared as World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its quality natural environment. In 2006 it is also declared as Tiger Reserve.
Kaziranga National Park is home to world’s great one-horned rhinoceroses with total population of 2401. Intersected by four major rivers the forest land shows multiple areas with different characteristics and hence housing some of the rarest species of both flora and fauna. Apart from the rhinos the Asian Elephants also find their shelter in the grasslands of Kaziranga National Park. The other inhabitants of the park are wild boars, barasingha (swamp deer), monitor lizards, Indian bison, Swamp deer, Samber, Hog deer, Sloth Bear, Tiger, Leopard, Leopard cat,Jungle cat, hog badger, Capped langur, Hoolock gibbon, Jackal, Goose, Hornbills, lbis, Cormorants, Egret, Heron Fishing Eagle etc. Kaziranga is also known for its vibrant bird life. Birds including Fishing Eagle, Oriental Honey Buzzard, Himalayan Griffon and White-tailed Eagle are easily spotted in the area.
9 of the 14 primate species found in India occur in the Kaziranga National Park as well as the only ape found in India, the hoolock gibbon.
The landscape of Kaziranga is of sheer forest, tall elephant grass, rugged reeds, marshes & shallow pools. This park is very famous for its wild life inhabitation including many species of rhinoceroses, as well as many animals, including elephant, and numerous bird species. Kaziranga is one of the largest Protected Areas in India and one of the most significant conserved forest areas on the earth.
In addition to numerous species of resident birds it serves as the winter visiting ground to many migratory birds. So, the park has also been identified as an Important Bird Area (IBA). Today, Kaziranga is one of the richest, most picturesque wildlife habitats of southern Asia.
Manas National Park
Manas National Park is a national park, UNESCO Natural World Heritage site, a Project Tiger reserve, an elephant reserve and a biosphere reserve. The park area falls in Assam’s five districts viz. Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa, Barpeta, Udalguri and Darrang, on the foothills of the Himalayas and it is contiguous with the Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan.
It is spread over an area of 391 square kilometers in Assam. Occupying a large area the park is home to an ample of flora and fauna. With the typical tropical monsoon rainfall type of climate the national park houses more than twenty five species that are endangered world-wide. Animals like Wild Water Buffaloes, Assam Roofed Turtle, Golden Langoor and Hispid Hare can also be seen along with the rare Pygmy Hog.
The Manas National Park was declared a sanctuary on 1 October 1928 with an area of 360 km2. Manas bioreserve was created in 1973. It was declared a national park in 1980. It was declared a World Heritage site in December 1985 by UNESCO. On 25 February 2008 the area was increased to 950 km2. On 21 June 2011, it was removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger and was commended for its efforts in preservation. in 1973 it got its designation as a Tiger Reserve and it’s the only tiger project of Assam.
The name of the park is derives from the Manas River, which is named after the serpent god Manasa. The Manas River is a major tributary of Brahmaputra River, which passes through the heart of the national park.
Manas known for its Project Tigers, Rhinos & Elephants, and is Assam’s one of the two Tiger projects. The sanctuary is home to a great variety of wildlife, including tiger, Golden Langur, Wild Buffalo, Hispid Hare, Pigmy Hog, Capped Langur, Indian one-horned Rhinoceros, Elephant, Gaur, Hog Deer, etc. The Manas Wildlife National Park is home to more than 450 species of birds also.
374 species of major flora are recorded from the park includes Melastoma malbathricum, Oroxylum indicum, Toona ciliata, Trewia nodiflora, Sterculia villosa, Bischofia javanica, Pouzolzia zeylanica, Syzygium formosum, Terminalia bellarica, Zingibar zecumber, Bauhinia sps., Bombax ceiba, Careya arborea, Chukrasia tabularis etc.
The main types of forests are Sub-Himalayan High Alluvial Semi-Evergreen Forests, East Himalayan Moist Mixed Deciduous Forests, Low Alluvial Savana Woodland ,Assam Valley Semi-Evergreen Alluvial Grasslands .
Dibru Saikhowa National Park
Dibru-Saikhowa National Park is one of the largest park of Assam, is situated in the south bank of the river Brahmaputra in the extreme east of Assam state in India. It is a National Park as well as a Biosphere Reserve having an area of 340 sq. kms in Tinsukia district. This national park is a home to some of the rare creatures.
Dibru Saikhowa National Park area lies in the Indo-Burma Global Biodiversity Hotspot ( one of the 19 biodiversity hotspots in the world). It’s fauna diversity comprises of semi wet evergreen forests, tropical moist deciduous forest, swamp forests, bamboo, cane brakes and grasslands.
The national park consists of a total of 36 species which include Hog Deer, Gangetic Dolphin, Royal Bengal Tiger, Jungle Cat, Asaiatic Water Buffalo, Capped Langur, Small Indian Civet, barking Deer, Slow Loris, Clouded Leopard, Asian Elephant, Chinese Pangolin, Malayan Giant Squirrel, etc. Semi-wild horse. It witnesses over 500 species of birds, both migratory and local. Species like white-winged duck, marsh babbler, white rumped vulture that are close to extinction seek refuge in this park. White winged Wood- Duck and Black-breasted Parrotbill Feral Horses are species of wild life which makes Dibru Saikhowa very famous. The National Park also conserve the White-Winged Wood Duck which are very rare.
This area was called as the Dibru Reserve Forest in the year 1890 and in the year 1920 some additional areas were also added to this Dibru Reserve Forest. The in the year 1929 the Dibru Reserve Forest was named as Saikhowa Reserve Forest. In the year 1995 this Saikhowa Reserve Forest was declared as a Wildlife Sanctuary. It was designated a Biosphere Reserve in July 1997. In the year 1999 this Wildlife Sanctuary was again declared as a National Park.
NOTE – White-Winged Wood Duck is the state bird of Assam state
Nameri National Park
Sharing its boundary with Arunachal Pradesh and therefore merging with the Pakhui Wildlife Sanctuary, Nameri National Park is built up on an area of approximately 200 sq km.
The Park situated in the District of Sonitpur of Assam, is also an Elephant reserve. Animals like tiger, Himalayan Black Bear, Wild Boar and Indian Giant Squirrel are its common inhabitants. Birds like Ibis bill, Wreathed horn bill, black stork and Rufous necked hornbill find home here. The National Park also houses the orchids that make it rich in its flora as well.
The park is the second Tiger reserve of Assam. It was established as a sanctuary on 18th September 1985 and was officially declared as a National Park on 15th November, 1998. It is counted amongst the richest and most threatened reservoirs of plant and animal life in the world.
Nameri is a haven for many rare animals. The rich wildlife includes Tiger, Black bear, elephant, Leopard, Clouded Leopard, Indian Bison, Pangolin, Indian wild dog, deer, Civet Cat, Capped Langur, Jackals etc.Various species of birds such as the endangered white winged wood duck, four species of Hornbill, butterflies and reptiles are also found here.
Together the Nameri National Park in Assam and the Pakhui wildlife sanctuary in Arunachal pradhesh cover up a vast area of more or less 1000 square kilometres. This deciduous and moist jungle of bamboo brakes, canes and narrow grass strips along river banks is the ideal habitation for animals like elephants, tigers and a wide range of migratory birds.
Orang National Park
Orange National Park is situated in the Darrang and Sonitpur districts of Assam. Being comparatively small, the park is spread in about 78 sq km. Orang National Park has a strong hold of one-horned rhinos in the region.
The uniqueness of the park lies in the fact that it houses more than 50 species of fishes. This park is oldest game reserve of the State and an important breeding ground for varieties of Fishes. The animals found in this sanctuary are the One-horned Rhinoceros, Leopard, Elephant, Sambar, Barking Deer, Tiger, varieties of water birds, Green Pigeon, Florican, Teal , Goose, Otters, hog deer, Indian civet, Rhesus macaque, Bengal porcupine, Indian pangolin, Indian fox etc. Various species of birds such as the Pelican, Cormorant, Greylag Goose, Large Whistling Tea Great Adjutant Stork, King Vulture etc. have also found this sanctuary to be their ideal habitat.
It is also known as the mini Kaziranga National Park because of similar landscape, streams and grassland. The Park was established as a sanctuary in 1985 and declared a National Park on 13th of April 1999.
RECENT DEVELOPMENT - Assam’s Sixth National Park Proposed
Assam is set to get its sixth national park with the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) formally proposing the formation of a larger protected area by merging the North Karbi Anglong and East Karbi Anglong wildlife sanctuaries into a national park. The conjoined districts of Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao account for much of the States green cover, particularly dense forest cover. Dima Hasao does not even have a wildlife sanctuary. The objective behind the move is to bring more forest area under security cover and boost protection along the contiguous belts that link the Karbi Anglong forests with Kaziranga National Park.