Kaziranga National Park situated in the Golaghat and Nagaon districts of the state of Assam of India. This sanctuary hosts two-thirds of the world’s great one-horned Rhinoceroses becomes a World Heritage Site. Kaziranga is a vast expanse of tall elephant grass, marshland and dense tropical moist broad-leaf forests with criss-crossed by four major rivers including the Brahmaputra and the park includes numerous small bodies of water.
Asian Openbill শামুকখোল
The rhino population in Kaziranga National Park in March 2015 census is 2,401. It comprises 1,651 adult rhinos (663 male, 802 are females, 186 unsexed); 294 sub-adults (90 males, 114 females, 90 unsexed) 251 juveniles and 205 cubs. Kaziranga is home to the highest density of tigers among protected areas in the world, and was declared a Tiger Reserve in 2006. The park is home to large breeding populations of elephants, wild water buffalo, and swamp deer.
Kaziranga is recognized as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International for conservation of avifaunal species. When compared with other protected areas in India, Kaziranga has achieved notable success in wildlife conservation. Located on the edge of the Eastern Himalaya biodiversity hotspot, the park combines high species diversity and visibility. Kaziranga National park is approximately 40 km in length from east to west, and 13 km in breadth from north to south. Kaziranga covers an area of 378 sq km with approximately 51.14 sq km lost to erosion in recent years. A total addition of 429 sq km along the present boundary of the park has been made and designated with separate national park status to provide extended habitat for increasing the population of wildlife or, as a corridor for safe movement of animals to Karbi Anglong Hills. Elevation ranges from 131 feet to 262 feet.
Great one-horned Rhinoceros Kaziranga
The park area is circumscribed by the Brahmaputra River, which forms the northern and eastern boundaries, and the Mora Diphlu, which forms the southern boundary. Other notable rivers within the park are the Diphlu and Mora Dhansiri. Kaziranga has flat expanses of fertile, alluvial soil, formed by erosion and silt deposition by the River Brahmaputra. The landscape consists of exposed sandbars, riverine flood-formed lakes known as beels, (which make up 5% of the surface area) and elevated regions known as chapories, which provide retreats and shelter for animals during floods. Many artificial chapories have been built with the help of the Indian Army to ensure the safety of the animals. Kaziranga is one of the largest tracts of protected land in the sub-Himalayan belt, and due to the presence of highly diverse and visible species, has been described as a “biodiversity hotspot”.
Spot-billed Grey Pelican
The park is located in the Indomalaya ecozone, and the dominant biomes of the region are Brahmaputra Valley semi-evergreen forests of the tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests biome and a frequently flooded variant of the Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands of the tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome. Kaziranga is also surrounded by lush green tea plantations, most of them contributing heavily to Assam’s economy. Kaziranga is one of the few wild breeding areas outside Africa for multiple species of large cats, such as Bengal tigers and leopards. Kaziranga was declared a Tiger Reserve in 2006 and has the highest density of tigers in the world (one per five sq km), with a population of 118, according to the latest census. Other felids include the jungle cat, fishing cat, and leopard cat. Small mammals include the rare hispid hare, Indian gray mongoose, small Indian mongooses, large Indian civet, small Indian civets, Bengal fox, golden jackal, sloth bear, Chinese pangolin, Indian pangolins, hog badger, Chinese ferret badgers, and particoloured flying squirrel.
Asian Elephant of India
Nine of the 14 primate species found in India occur in the park. Prominent among them are the Assamese macaque, capped and golden langur, as well as the only ape found in India, the hoolock gibbon. Kaziranga’s rivers are also home to the endangered Ganges dolphin. Kaziranga contains significant breeding populations of 35 mammalian species of which 15 are threatened as per the IUCN Red List. The park has the distinction of being home to the world’s largest population of the Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros (1,855) wild Asiatic water buffalo (1,666) and eastern swamp deer (468). Significant populations of large herbivores include elephants (1,940), gaur (30) and sambar (58). Small herbivores include the Indian muntjac, wild boar and hog deer. Kaziranga has the largest population of the Wild water buffalo anywhere accounting for about 57% of the world population.
Indian Hog Deer
Kaziranga has been identified by Birdlife International as an Important Bird Area. It is home to a variety of migratory birds, water birds, predators, scavengers, and game birds. Birds such as the lesser white-fronted goose, ferruginous duck, Baer’s pochard duck and lesser adjutant, greater adjutant, black-necked stork, and Asian openbill stork migrate from Central Asia to the park during winter. Riverine birds include the Blyth’s kingfisher, white-bellied heron, Dalmatian pelican, spot-billed pelican, Nordmann’s greenshank, and black-bellied tern. Birds of prey include the rare eastern imperial, greater spotted, white-tailed, Pallas’s fish eagle, grey-headed fish eagle, and the lesser kestrel.
Kaziranga was once home to seven species of vultures, but the vulture population reached near extinction, supposedly by feeding on animal carcasses containing the drug Diclofenac. Only the Indian vulture, slender-billed vulture, and Indian white-rumped vulture have survived. Game birds include the swamp francolin, Bengal florican, and pale-capped pigeon. Other families of birds inhabiting Kaziranga include the great Indian hornbill and wreathed hornbill, Old World babblers such as Jerdon’s and marsh babblers, weaver birds such as the common baya weaver, threatened Finn’s weavers, thrushes such as Hodgson’s bushchat and Old World warblers such as the bristled grassbird. Other threatened species include the black-breasted parrotbill and the rufous-vented prinia.
Two of the largest snakes in the world, the reticulated python and rock python, as well as the longest venomous snake in the world, the king cobra, inhabit this park. Other snakes found here include the Indian cobra, monocled cobra, Russell’s viper and the common krait. Monitor lizard species found in the park include the Bengal monitor and the Asian water monitor. Other reptiles include fifteen species of turtle, such as the endemic Assam roofed turtle and one species of tortoise, the brown tortoise. 42 species of fish are found in the area, including the Tetraodon.