In the ongoing conflict between man and animal in terms of rightful occupation of the natural habitat, conservation often takes a backseat! But, the Indian state of Assam has not let such analogy malign its one of the world renowned national park. No doubts, poaching of Rhinoceros in Kaziranga at one time was a big menace due to astronomical increase in price of the rhino horns in international market in the last few years, easy escape route via Dimapur-Moreh, availability of illegal fire arms in the region, involvement of various insurgent groups in the rhino poaching and trade, highly porous boundary of the Park etc. But, due to excellent protection measures taken by the Park officials in coordination with local people, there has been considerable increase in the population of rhino from a few dozens to the present population of 2401 Rhino.
The Kaziranga National Park is an important tourist destination of north eastern region of the country. During the year 2015-16, a total of 1,62,799 tourist, including 11,417 foreign tourists, visited the National Park and Rs. 4.19 crore revenue was earned from entry fees.
Kaziranga National is famous for the Big Five namely the Rhinoceros (2,401 nos), Tiger (116 nos), Elephant (1,165 nos), Asiatic Wild Buffalo and the Eastern Swamp Deer (1,148 nos). It houses the largest population of One Horned Rhinoceros in the world and has about 68% of the entire world population of One-horned Rhinoceros. It also has one of the highest densities of tigers in the wild in the world. It also houses almost entire population of the Eastern Swamp Deer. Besides these big five, Kaziranga supports immense floral and faunal biodiversity.
The Kaziranga National Park has on its North the river Brahmaputra, entire stretch of which from Golaghat district boundary on the east to the Kaliabhomora bridge on Brahmaputra in the west. On one hand the annual flood waters of the river bring nourishment, leading to a very high productive biomass, but on the other hand, the phenomenon of erosion takes away lot of valuable and prime habitat. Its s one of the oldest wildlife conservancy reserves of India, first notified in 1905 and constituted as Reserved Forest in 1908 with an area of 228.825 Sq. Km specially established for conservation and protection of the Greater One Horned Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros Unicornis) whose number was estimated at twenty pairs then. Kaziranga was declared a Game Sanctuary in 1916 and opened to visitors in 1938. It was declared a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1950, and notified as Kaziranga National Park in 1974 under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, with an area of 429.93 Sq. Km. which has now extended to 899 Sq. Km. subsequently.
The Kaziranga National Park has in its vicinity several notified forests and protected areas namely Panbari Reserve Forest and Deopahar Proposed Reserve Forest in Golaghat District, Kukurakata Hill Reserve Forest, Bagser Reserve Forest, Kamakhya Hill Reserve Forest and Deosur Hill Proposed Reserve Forest in Nagaon District, Bhumuraguri Reserve Forest in Sonitpur District, North Karbi Anglong Wildlife Sanctuary in Karbi Anglong district; all these areas are of great ecological importance to the Kaziranga National Park.
About the Author:
Dr. Satyendra Singh is Member of Indian Forests Service and presently serving as Director, Kaziranga National Park & Field Director, Kaziranga Tiger Reserve, Bokakhat, Assam.