Kaziranga National Park

BIG FIVE...

Kaziranga National Park – a world heritage site.

BIG FIVE...

Kaziranga National Park – a world heritage site.

BIG FIVE...

Kaziranga National Park – a world heritage site.

BIG FIVE...

Kaziranga National Park – a world heritage site.

BIG FIVE...

Kaziranga National Park – a world heritage site.

     
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Kaziranga contains significant breeding populations of 35 mammalian species, of which 15 are threatened as per the IUCN Red List (International Union for Conservation of Nature). The park has the distinction of being home to the world's largest population of the Great Indian 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.

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Kaziranga is one of the few wild breeding areas outside Africa for multiple species of large cats, such as Indian Tigers and Leopards. Kaziranga was declared a Tiger Reserve in 2006 and has the highest density of tigers in the world (one per five km²), with a population of 86, as per the 2000 census. Other felids include the Jungle Cat, Fishing Cat, and Leopard Cats. 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 Particolored flying squirrels. Nine of the 14 primate species found in India occur in the park. Prominent among them are the Assamese Macaque, Capped, 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 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, Spotted 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 the 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 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.

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Vegetation of Kaziranga National Park

Four main types of vegetation exist in the park. These are alluvial inundated grasslands, alluvial savanna woodlands, tropical moist mixed deciduous forests, and tropical semi-evergreen forests. Based on Landsat data for 1986, percent coverage by vegetation is: tall grasses 41%, short grasses 11%, open jungle 29%, swamps 4%, rivers and water bodies 8%, and sand 6%.

There is a difference in altitude between the eastern and western areas of the park, with the western side being at a lower altitude. The western reaches of the park are dominated by grasslands. Tall elephant grass is found on higher ground, while short grasses cover the lower grounds surrounding the beels or flood-created ponds.Annual flooding, grazing by herbivores, and controlled burning maintain and fertilize the grasslands and reeds. Common tall grasses are sugarcanes, spear grass, elephant grass, and the common reed. Numerous forbs are present along with the grasses. Amidst the grasses, providing cover and shade are scattered trees—dominant species including kumbhi, Indian gooseberry, the cotton tree (in savanna woodlands), and elephant apple (in inundated grasslands)]

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Thick evergreen forests, near the Kanchanjhuri, Panbari, and Tamulipathar blocks, contain trees such as Aphanamixis polystachya, Talauma hodgsonii, Dillenia indica, Garcinia tinctoria, Ficus rumphii, Cinnamomum bejolghota, and species of Syzygium. Tropical semi-evergreen forests are present near Baguri, Bimali, and Haldibari. Common trees and shrubs are Albizia procera, Duabana grandiflora, Lagerstroemia speciosa, Crateva unilocularis, Sterculia urens, Grewia serrulata, Mallotus philippensis, Bridelia retusa, Aphania rubra, Leea indica, and Leea umbraculifera.

There are many different aquatic floras in the lakes and ponds, and along the river shores. The invasive water hyacinth is very common, often choking the water bodies, but it is cleared during destructive floods. Another invasive species, Mimosa invisia, which is toxic to herbivores, was cleared by Kaziranga staff with help from the Wildlife Trust of India in 2005.

Water pollution due to run-off from pesticides from tea gardens, pose a hazard to the ecology of the region.Invasive species such as Mimosa and wild rose have posed a threat to the native plants in the region. To control the growth and irradiation of invasive species, research on biological methods for controlling weeds, manual uprooting and weeding before seed settling are carried out at regular intervals.Grassland management techniques, such as controlled burning, are effected annually to avoid forest fires

The Wildlife wing of the forest department of the Government of Assam, headquartered at Bokakhat, is responsible for the administration and management of Kaziranga.The administrative head of the park is the director, who is a conservator-level officer. A divisional forest officer is the administrative chief executive of the park. He is assisted by two officers with the rank of assistant conservator of forests. The park area is divided into four ranges, overseen by range forest officers. The four ranges are the Burapahar, Baguri, Central, and Eastern. They are headquartered at Ghorakati, Baguri, Kohora, and Agoratoli, respectively. Each range is further sub-divided into beats, headed by a forester, and sub-beats, headed by a forest guard.

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