Swamp Francolin, Kaziranga

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I thought of sharing an image I made of Swamp Francolins from the western zone of Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve in Assam. The image was made in the afternoon safari during late December 2015. I was excited about spotting a rare species like this — we actually saw a family of six but I managed to capture only three in this frame.

As the name implies, this is a bird of swamps and damp areas, but it is … Read More

Tragic Loss of a Tusker, Kaziranga

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On September 4th 2015, a bull elephant that was part of a larger herd was electrocuted when it walked into a live, low-hanging power cable at the Kaziranga National Park in Assam. The herd was trying to reach higher ground in order to escape from floods that had inundated over 80% of the park.

Wildlife photographer Sandesh Kadur, who was in Kaziranga at the time, recounted details of the accident. Years of waterlogging had eroded the base of the electric … Read More

Human-Wildlife Interaction during Brahmaputra Flood

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Floods in the Brahmaputra valley of Assam are an annual occurrence, and have both positive and negative consequences for humans, property and wildlife. Kaziranga National Park is often heavily impacted by such floods, with animals usually fleeing to the adjoining Karbi Anglong hills, south of the Park.  While National Highway 37, which lies between the park and the hills, becomes a temporary shelter for flood-affected people at several locations, wild animals too climb on to it to escape the waters … Read More

Saving the Elusive Pygmy Hog

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Thanks to a content sharing agreement with Livemint, we are able to bring some interesting conservation articles authored by Ananda Banerjee.

Success in conservation is usually measured by the effectiveness of steps to boost the numbers of big, charismatic species. In India, the stars are the Bengal tiger, followed by the Asiatic lion, the leopard, the elephant and the rhinoceros.

Assam, for instance, is celebrating an increase in the population of the endangered, greater one-horned rhinoceros by 250. Earlier this … Read More

Numaligarh — On a Wrong Course?

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Reports of a golf course coming up in the township of the Numaligarh Refinery Limited near Kaziranga National Park in Assam created ripples and troubled many; some also regarded it as one of the ‘regular’ depressing news on the wildlife conservation front. Why – one wonders though – does a Miniratna Public Sector Unit need an arena for a sport usually associated with the elite, that too within a ‘No Development Zone’. Golf courses are ‘infamous’ for their water guzzling … Read More

Procreation in Action

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The one-horned rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) was once distributed throughout the northern part of the Indian subcontinent. Today, the species is restricted to pockets in the Indo-Nepal Terai, North Bengal and, of course, in the protected grasslands of Assam. Listed as ‘vulnerable’ by the IUCN, poaching and habitat loss continue to be the greatest threats to its survival. The Kaziranga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is home to nearly two-thirds of the world’s one-horned rhino population. The … Read More

Rare Black-breasted Parrotbill Spotted In Manas

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The Black-breasted Parrotbill (Paradoxornis flavirostris) is one of India’s rarest, enigmatic and least-known birds. Till recently Debeshwari, in the Eastern Zone in Kaziranga, and Dibru-Saikhowa close to Tinsukia in N Assam were the only two places where the bird was found. However it seems that for the last few years the birds seem to have become extremely scare in these areas.

On 17th March 2011, birders Soma Jha and Sushmita Jha sighted this bird in Manas National Park … Read More

Tiger Watching, Kaziranga

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This image was photographed in Kaziranga’s central range on March 31st, 2013.

The tiger was in the grass close to the watchtower, and tourists, including my groups, had congregated in the tower to wait and watch. As the tiger began walking back towards the road there was a crazy rush back down to the track – some groups got into their jeeps and drove up to the tiger, others ran along the track from the tower.

From the watchtower my … Read More

Between Flood Waters and a Poacher’s Gun

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We were in Kaziranga to document the July 2012 floods. Rhinos escaping the rising waters of the Brahmaputra, seek shelter in the Karbi Hills to the South. This is where poachers lie in wait.

We saw this poached rhino in a pool of blood, with its horn cut off. The forest department estimates that during floods, about 100 rhinos try to escape to fringe areas like Haldibari, Kanchanjuri, and Panbari. The department attempts to round up and drive back rhinos … Read More

Hog Deer Roadkill

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The mauled remains of a hog deer lie on National Highway 37 that forms the southern boundary of Kaziranga National Park. Animals fleeing the rising waters of the Brahmaputra during monsoon floods face the daunting task of crossing the busy Highway in order to reach the Karbi Anglong hills. The Highway is one of the serious threats to conservation in the Kaziranga landscape. The least that can be done immediately is to implement a ban on night-traffic, something that has … Read More

Rhino Falls To Poacher’s Bullets In Kaziranga

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Poachers have shot and killed a rhino that strayed out of Kaziranga. Gunshots were heard by forest officials in the wee hours and an operation was launched. The carcass of the rhino was found at 915 AM with its horn missing. The poachers were encountered by the forest guards, but they managed to escape after shooting at the guards. Atleast 20 rounds were exchanged between the forest guards and the poachers. Forest officials say that security has been beefed up … Read More

Male Rhino Killed in Kaziranga

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A male rhino has been killed in Kaziranga National Park. The bullet riddled body with its horn chopped off was found on a remote sandbar by the Brahmaputra inside the park. The animal appeared to have been killed two or three days ago.

This is the fifth rhino to be killed by poachers in and around the park this year. On August 30th, a female rhino was killed by poachers for its horn. Patrolling has been intensified in the area. … Read More

Assam National Parks Face Funds Crisis

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The Assamese government has failed to release funds required to manage the state’s national parks and sanctuaries. As a result, maintenance activities in all the five national parks – Kaziranga, Manas, Orang, Dibru-Saikhowa and Nameri, have come to a standstill. It has been more than six months since Dispur released these funds. Orang national park — the smallest — which needs about 10 lakhs per month, has seen 26 of the 42 casual workers leave. Officials at Kaziranga had a … Read More

Manas and Kaziranga National Parks at Risk From Dams

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Manas National Park, which recently regained its World Heritage Site status continues to be at risk from hydel projects. The Kurichu hydro electric project (60 MW) and the Mangdechu hyrdro electric project (720 MW) in Bhutan are deemed likely to threaten Manas. The Kurichu dam has already flooded Manas once in 2004, killing large numbers of wildlife. Release of water from the dam has been reported on several occasions in the last six years creating floods in the Manas Biosphere … Read More

Translocation of Swamp Deer Planned in Manas National Park

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In accordance with suggestions given by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee (WHC), the forest department is planning to increase the population of swamp deer in Manas National Park. Translocation of swamp deer from Kaziranga into Manas is planned as a three year project. Kaziranga has around 1200 swamp deer, whereas Manas has only 20. Eleven rhinos have been translocated from Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary into Manas since 2008 and the translocation has been deemed successful.

The recovery plan has been prepared on … Read More

Unsustained Tourism a Cause for Concern across Tiger Reserves

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Sujit Banerji, Chairman of the Forest, Environment and Eco-tourism Committee and former Secretary, Tourism, Government of India, said this while addressing a seminar on tourism in Guwahati organized by the Tour Operators Association of Assam (TOAA) that tourism around Kaziranga would soon be shifted from the core area of this national park. “Buffer areas need to be well forested and so once wildlife starts inhabiting these areas, pressure of tourism is shifted from the core areas. There has to be … Read More

Armed Poachers Arrested While Attempting to Enter Kaziranga

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Police arrested three armed poachers in the Bihali area of Sonitpur district in Assam, while trying to sneak into Kaziranga National Park. The three were found during a combing operation, hiding in the house of a local. The local escaped. A .303 rifle, ammunition, some food and camp materials were found on them. It is believed their plan was to spend a week inside Kaziranga and poach Rhinos. … Read More

Kaziranga National Park to be extended

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The Assam government is set to complete the legal process for extension of the Kaziranga National Park from the present 430 square kilometres to double the area. The State’s forest and tourism minister, Rockybul Hussain, said the government was expeditiously trying to settle the land acquisition process for the extension so that animals, including the prized one-horned rhinos, were better protected.

Although the park has already more than 800 sq. km. area, it was not legally sanctioned thus preventing the … Read More

Kaziranga short-staffed to protect rhinos

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Assam Forest and Environment Minister Rockybul Hussain on Friday informed the state assembly that the present strength of frontline staff of the Kaziranga National Park (KNP) was not sufficient to protect rhinos and other animals there.

Replying to a question by Communist Party of India (CPI) member Drupad Borgohain, Mr. Hussain said the strength of the frontline staff in 152 camps inside the park was 386 and this remained unchanged for the past 20 years though the area had doubled … Read More