Kaziranga is home two-third of world’s one horned Rhino population. A very successful conservation programme has ensured a population of about 2400 Rhinos in this park. It is also the highest Tiger density park, with over 110 Tigers last counted. Kaziranga is the only park outside Africa which has breeding population of many species of cats, like, Tigers, Leopards, Leoprad Cat, Jungle Cat, and Fishing Cat. Declared as World Heritage Site in 1974, it is also a very Important Bird Area. A healthy population of Asian Elephants, Water Buffaloes, Eastern Swamp Deers. Nine of the 14 primate species are found here including the rare Golden Langur, and the only Ape in India the Hoolock Gibbon is in this park. Protecting such biodiversity is a huge challenge, and nature does not assist. With the massive Brahmaputra passing through the forest Kaziranga gets flooded every year, thus losing lot of wildlife as well.
About The Park
The Kaziranga National Park is the only National Park in the State situated in central Assam with an area of 430sq. km. It is the home of the great Indian one horned Rhinoceros (Unicornis). The landscape of Kaziranga is of sheer forest, tall elephant grass, rugged reeds, mellow marshes and shallow pools.
Kaziranga has a history of its own. Lady Curzon first heard about the Rhinos of Kaziranga from her British tea planter friends and came to Assam in 1904-05. Although she could not see the animal, she spotted hoof prints with three toes and believed that such an animal did exist. On her return, she persuaded lord Curzon to do something to save this animal from total annihilation.
Lord Curzon set the wheels of the British bureaucracy rolling, and on June 1, 1905, a preliminary notification announcing the intention of the Government to declare 57,273.60 acres of Kaziranga as a reserved forest was issued. Finally, Kaziranga was declared as reserved forest on January 3, 1908, and was officially closed for shooting.
On January 28, 1913 the area of reserved forest was expanded with the inclusion of another 13,506 acres. Kaziranga was declared a Game Sanctuary on November10, 1916. In 1938, the then conservator of forest, A.J.W. Milroy stopped all poaching and opened Kaziranga to visitors. Because the word ‘game’ connotated animals for hunting, in 1950, the then senior conservator of forest Mr P D Stracey, changed the term to ‘wildlife sanctuary’.
Gradually the sanctuary, begun as a nucleus encompassing a small area, expanded to its present size. Finally, on February 11, 1974, the name was changed to Kaziranga National Park.
The one horned Rhinoceros, Elephant, Indian bison, Swamp Deer, Samber, Hog Deer, Sloth Bear, Tiger, Leopard cat, Jungle cat, Hog badger, Capped langur, Hollock gibbon, Jackal, Goose, Hornbills, Ibis, Cormorants, Egret, Heron fishing eagle etc. all form a part of the very complex ecological balance of the park. During Winter many migratory birds are also seen here.
How To Reach
Rhino, Kaziranga National ParkKaziranga is 239 km from the Guwahati airport and 97 km from the Jorhat airport. Regular bus services run by the State Transport Corporation, Travel Agencies, Tourist taxis are available. The Bus stoppage for Kaziranga is known as Kohora. The nearest railhead is Furkating at a distance of 75 km.
The average temperature around Kaziranga National Park in summer is 32.2° C and in winter 10° C. The average rainfall is 160 cm. Tourists are advised to wear cotton in summer and woolens in winter. The best season for visiting Kaziranga is November to April. The off season is from May to October.
Flora & Fauna
The park contains about 15 species of India’s threatened (Schedule I) Elephant, Kaziranga National Park mammals. It harbours the world’s largest population of Indian rhinoceros Rhinoceros unicornis (E), which has increased from a few dozen in 1908 (Gee, 1964) to some 1,080 in 1984 and 1,100 in 1988. Other mammals include capped langur Presbytis pileata, a small population of hoolock gibbon Hylobates hoolock, tiger Panthera tigris (E), leopard P. Pardus (T), sloth bear Melursus ursinus (I), Indian elephant Elephas maximus (E) (523), Ganges dolphin Platanista gangetica, otter Lutra lutra, wild boar Sus scrofa (3,645), water buffalo Bubalus arnee (V) (677), gaur Bos gaurus (V) (30), sambar Cervus unicolor (358), swamp deer C. duvauceli (V) (756), hog deer C. porcinus (9,872) and Indian muntjac Muntiacus muntjak. Population estimates are based on the 1984 census, details of which are given by Choudhury (1987). Elephants and other animals migrate with the advent of the monsoon and head southwards to the Mikir Hills and beyond to avoid the annual flooding of the national park in 1981.
The numerous water bodies are rich reservoirs of food (including fish) and thousands of migratory birds, representing over 100 species, visit the park seasonally from as far afield as Siberia. There is a grey pelican Pelecanus philippensis rookery near Kaziranga Village. Other birds of interest include black-necked stork Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus, lesser adjutant stork Leptoptilos javanicus, Pallas’s fish eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus, grey-headed fish eagle Icthyophaga icthyaetus, perhaps 25-30 Bengal florican Houbaropsis bengalensis (E), swamp partridge Francolinus gularis, grey peacock-pheasant Polyplectron bicalcaratum, great pied hornbill Buceros bicornis, green imperial pigeon Ducula aenea, silver-breasted broadbill Serilophus lunatus and Jerdon’s bushchat Saxicola jerdoni. The avifauna comprises over 300 species in 1987.
Assam Macaque, Golden Jackal, Asiatic Black Bear, Smooth-coated Otter, Common Palm, Civet Leopard, Cat Leopard, Indian Elephant, Indian Muntjac, Sambar, Indian Pangolin, Orange-bellied, Hoolock Gibbon, Bengal Fox, Sloth Bear, Small Indian Civet, Small Indian Mongoose, Jungle Cat, Tiger, Indian Rhinoceros, Swamp Deer , Water Buffalo, Black Giant Squirrel, Indian Hare, Capped Langur, Dhole, Yellow-throated Marten, Large Indian Civet, Indian Grey Mongoose, Fishing Cat, Ganges Dolphin, Wild Boar, Hog Deer, Gaur, Indian Porcupine, Himalayan Squirrel.