The Kaziranga National Park, which has also been designated as a tiger reserve by the Government of India, gets its name from the Karbi language, where ‘Kazi’ means ‘Goat’ or ‘Deer’ and ‘Rangai’ means ‘Red,’ culminating in ‘the land of red goats or deer.’ Kaziranga National Park (26°35′-26°45’N and 93°05′-93°40’E) is located in the floodplain of the Brahmaputra riverin the districts of Nagaon, Golaghat, and Sonitpur in Assam, India, and covers an area of 1030 km2. It is the largest protected area on the Brahmaputra river’s southern bank.
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Timeline of Kaziranga National Park Protection Status
Kaziranga’s conservation efforts began in 1908 when it was designated a ‘Reserve Forest,’ with the primary goal of protecting the Indian Rhinoceros and its habitat. It was later designated as a ‘Game Reserve‘ in 1916, a ‘Wildlife Sanctuary‘ in 1950, and finally a ‘National Park‘ on January 1, 1974. In 1985, it was also designated as a UNESCO ‘World Heritage Site.’ The Government of India approved the constitution of Kaziranga Tiger Reserve in August 2006, owing to the high density of tiger presence in the area and reportedly the only viable tiger population in any of the northeast India tiger landscapes.
National parks in Assam
|S.No||Name of the National Park||Area (Sq.Km.)|
|1||Kaziranga National park||858|
|2||Manas National Park||500|
|3||Raimona National Park||422|
|4||Dibru Saikhowa National Park||340|
|5||Dihing Patkai National Park||234|
|6||Nameri National Park||212|
|7||Orang National Park||78|
What Makes Kaziranga National Park Unique
There are currently 733 protected areas in India, covering an area of 160901.77 sq km and accounting for 4.89 per cent of the country’s land area. These protected areas include National Parks, wildlife sanctuaries, conservation reserves, and community reserves. Kaziranga National Park is among the country’s protected areas. This location is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is home to the world’s largest population of one-horned rhinoceroses. It also provides a habitat for tigers, elephants, panthers, bears, and thousands of birds. Also As a result of ongoing conservation efforts by the Government, the estimated number of rhinoceros has risen from 40 in 1911 to over 2400 in 2018.
Kaziranga National Park’s location
Kaziranga National Park (26°35′-26°45’N and 93°05′-93°40’E) is located in the floodplain of the Brahmaputra river in the districts of Nagaon, Golaghat, and Sonitpur in Assam, India, and covers an area of 1030 km2. It is the largest protected area on the Brahmaputra river’s southern bank.
The park’s terrain is flat with an east-west incline. The park’s soil is rich in alluvial deposits due to its location in the Brahmaputra river floodplain. A plethora of small rivers and channels flow through the park from east to west, most of which originate in the Karbi Anglong hills to the south, run north, and eventually drain into the Brahmaputra River, increasing its catchment area.
Fauna in Kaziranga
The Kaziranga Tiger Reserve is famous for the charismatic ‘BIGFIVE‘ Great Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros, Asiatic Wild Buffalo, Asiatic Elephant, Swamp Deer, and Royal Bengal Tiger are among them. The Kaziranga National Park is home to approximately 35 mammal species, 15 of which are threatened and listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972. The 2018 census counted 2,413 rhinos and about 1,100 elephants. According to tiger census figures from 2014, Kaziranga had an estimated 103 tigers, ranking third in India after Jim Corbett National Park (215 in Uttarakhand) and Bandipur National Park (120 in Karnataka).
Kaziranga is home to the majority of the world’s one-horned rhinos. Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary has the world’s highest density of one-horned rhinos and the 2nd greatest number of rhinos in Assam after Kaziranga National Park. In addition, 9 of the 14 primates found in the Indian subcontinent live in Kaziranga.
Highways and rivers
The Kaziranga National park is traversed by National Highway 37.
The Diphlu River passes through the Kaziranga National Park, there are over 250 seasonal water bodies in the park.
Floods are an annual aspect of the park, which is spread across the Assam districts of Nagaon, Golaghat, and Sonitpur and covers an area of slightly more than a thousand square kilometres (482 km2 of core zone and 548 km2 of buffer zone). Flooding is an essential component of the tiger reserve’s ecological system. Flooding not only aids in the maintenance of vegetation status but also aids in the process of silt deposition and soil formation. The park’s management faces an uphill task on one hand due to the park’s chronic flood problem in the Brahmaputra river every year, while poachers and heavy traffic on the adjoining national highway take a heavy toll on wild animals on the other.
Kaziranga’s relationship with the Brahmaputra
The Brahmaputra River valley encompasses roughly 60% of the state of Assam in north-eastern India. The Brahmaputra river (known as Yarlung Zangbo in Tibet and Jamuna in Bangladesh) flows 2,900 kilometres from its headwaters in the eastern Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal, passing through China, India (58 percent of the basin), and Bangladesh, as well as Nepal, Bhutan, and Burma.
The massive river is fed by the southwest summer monsoon, which produces more than 80% of India’s total precipitation. Extremely high, 24-hour rainfall events can occur in parts of the catchment, making the Brahmaputra River one of the subcontinent’s most flood-prone rivers. Floods are common during the monsoon season, with five to 19 floods occurring each season. Although floods can cause social and economic disasters by destroying lives, livelihoods, and infrastructure, flooding is also a natural process that creates fertile lands. The Brahmaputra valley is, in fact, one of India’s most fertile stretches of land.
Kaziranga National Park has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985. Every year, the Brahmaputra eats away at the Park’s land. As a result, the park’s official area is 1,030 square kilometres, but it is actually 884 square kilometres. It is also shrinking year after year. It primarily affects hog deer, swamp deer, wild boar, and a few other animals. As they These are those who are unable to reach higher ground in time after flooding. Despite the above, the Brahmaputra River benefits the park’s wildlife more than it harms it. It contributes significantly to the habitat of the world’s largest population of one-horned rhinos. A dynamic system that connects the Brahmaputra with its alluvial floodplains revitalises Kaziranga’s unique biodiversity.
In terms of park biodiversity, the park’s vegetation can be broadly classified into four categories:
(1) Wet alluvial grasslands in the east;
(2) Dillenia swamp forest in the east;
(3) Riparian forest with a fringing riparian forest; and
(4) Semi-evergreen forest of the Assam alluvial plains.
According to estimates, wetlands cover 7% of the park’s total area, grasslands cover 57% and cover 7%, and woodland covers 29% of the total area.
Challenges Faced by Kaziranga
Erosion and flooding
The Kaziranga National Park is abundant in water bodies and is inundated by floodwaters every year as a result of the constant rains and upwelling of the water streams. Because the mighty Brahmaputra runs through these areas, the northern and eastern parts of the park are generally the most affected. During every year’s summer floods, soil erosion is a major issue. Floods occur every year, sometimes several times a year, submerging 80-90 per cent of the park area and severely affecting wildlife. Furthermore, while critical Rhino habitat is lost to floods and erosion year after year, it takes a long time to recover to the point where it can support large numbers of the wildlife population. The larger threat that looms over wild animals is not sinking in floodwaters, but being vulnerable to poaching or being hit by speeding vehicles as animals cross the National Highway (NH) 37 to seek safe higher reaches of the Karbi-Anglong Hills during floods.
Poachers’ killing of rhinos is a serious threat to the animal’s survival in the park. The recent high demand for rhino horns in China and Southeast Asian countries is one of the main challenges and issues in rhino poaching.
Problems with encroachment and grazing
A major issue is the encroachment of the park area by the growing human population in the park’s vicinity. The demand for agricultural land, grazing, and settlement has skyrocketed. Domestic cattle grazing also poses a serious threat to wild animals due to the potential spread of diseases such as anthrax and foot and mouth disease among park animals.
The area’s urbanisation
The urbanisation trend in rhino habitat along the side of NH-37 is enormous. Settlements are increasing year after year, posing a challenge because they may lead to other harmful activities such as agricultural expansion, increased demand for fodder and firewood, road and market construction, and so on.
The park is surrounded by 23 villages and four tea gardens. Another 30 villages can be found nearby. According to the 2001 census, the total human population in the park’s immediate vicinity is around 70,000.
The conflict between humans and animals
Because of the large prey base (the numerous deer and other herbivores) within the park, prominent cases of wild carnivores preying on domesticated cattle and animals, which are common in other protected areas of the country, are rare in Kaziranga National Park. Human-elephant conflict, on the other hand, is fairly common. The natural habitat of elephants in Assam is rapidly dwindling due to increased land clearance for agriculture and industrial use. Human encroachment has forced elephants to forage in unprotected areas, increasing the possibility of disturbing local residents.
What is Kaziranga National Park is famous for?
The Kaziranga Tiger Reserve is famous for the charismatic ‘BIGFIVE‘ Great Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros, Asiatic Wild Buffalo, Asiatic Elephant, Swamp Deer, and Royal Bengal Tiger are among them.
In which city is Kaziranga National Park?
Kaziranga National Park (26°35′-26°45’N and 93°05′-93°40’E) is located in the floodplain of the Brahmaputra riverin the districts of Nagaon, Golaghat, and Sonitpur in Assam, India, and covers an area of 1030 km2. It is the largest protected area on the Brahmaputra river’s southern bank.