Dibru-Saikhowa National Park: A home of rare and endangered species    

Avik Chakraborty

Dibru-Saikhowa National park situated in Upper Assam’s Tinsukia district, which is a home of many extremely rare and endangered species of wild life. The total area of the park is about 340 km. Dibru-saikhowa wildlife sanctuary was declared as a National park in 1999. It is located 13 km north of Tinsukia town and about 515 km from Guwahati. The national park is bounded by the Brahmaputra river and Arunachal Pradesh hills in the north and Dibru river and Patkai hills on the south.

Dibru-Saikhowa is the largest Salix swamp forest in north east India which has tropical monsoon climate with a hot and wet summer and cool and usually dry winter.

The Park is divided into nine distinct zones one of which is a wetland while dense forests occupy the remaining portions. The sparkling sylvan wetlands paint a picture of rare beauty as the gleam like a mirage of quicksilver under the playful saffron sunbeams.

Over 300 avifauna both endangered and migratory, as well as various species of shrubs, herbs and rare medicinal plants. Some rare and endangered animals of this park are Hoolock gibbon, capped langur, slow loris, water buffalo, tiger, elephant, gangetic river dolphin etc.

Mammals- Feral Horses, Hoolock gibbon, Capped langur, Slow loris, Water buffalo, Tiger, Elephant, Gangetic river dolphin, , Leopard, Clouded Leopard, Jungle Cat, Sloth Bear, Dhole, Small Indian Civet, Malayan Giant Squirrel, Chinese Pangolin, Gangetic Dolphin, Slow Loris, Pig Tailed Macaque, Assamese Macaque, Rhesus Macaque, Capped Langur, Wild Boar, Sambar, and Hog Deer, barking Deer etc.

 Birds-White-winged wood duck, Spot billed pelican, White bellied heron, Pallah’s fishing eagle, Pale capped pigeon, Swamp francolin, Geyleg goose, Brahmini duck, Bar-headed goose, Pelican, Lesser Adjutant Stork, Great Grebe, Indian Shag, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Night Heron, Yellow Bittern, Open bill Stork, Black Stork, Crested Serpent Eagle, Spot Billed Pelican, Greater Spotted Eagle, Bengal Florican etc.

Nirantar Gohain, general secretary of Bahankshya Unnayan Shakti, an environmental NGO said, “Dibru-Saikhowa National Park is one of the 19 biodiversity hotspots in the world. It is also a biosphere reserve formed in 1997. The park is bounded by the Brahmaputra River and Arunachal hills in the north and Dibru and Patkai hills on the south. It mainly consists of semi wet evergreen forests, tropical moist deciduous forest, bamboo, cane brakes and grasslands. Situated in the flood plains of Brahmaputra, at an altitude of about 118 m above sea level,”.

“The government should work for the conservation of the National park but is seems that the central government is doing nothing. There is no government rest house in the national park only the private parties have built rest house for the tourist. Every year foreign tourist come to Dibru-saikhowa national park because of its rich vegetation.   Government should prioritized the tourism sector to boost the tourism industry of the region,”.  

The Dibru- Saikhowa National Park, Assam is also an ideal place for various adventure sports. The rugged landscape of the forest is ideal for trekking and mountain hiking trips.

Though the park was primarily meant for the conservation of White winged wood duck in its natural habitat, it is also the famous for its bright colored wild horses known as Feral Horses. A total of about 36 species of mammals have so far been recorded in the park, of which 12 are listed in the Scheduled 1 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

Dibru-saikhowa was declared a wildlife Sanctuary (650 Km) in 1986 by the government of Assam by uniting two Reserve forest, viz., Dibru and Saikhowa including some other areas. In 1997, Dibru-Saikhowa Biosphere Reserve was declared with and area of 765 km that included the 340 km of Sanctuary area as the core.

Mridul Dhar, Divisional Forest Officer, Tinsukia wildlife division said,” As per wildlife law 400 sq km of the Dibru-Saikhowa National park was declared as a protect area.  Out of 13 Biosphere reserve in India, Dibru-Saikhowa is the 8th Biosphere reserve. Dibru-saikhowa is bounded by six river and it is very difficult for us to operate with less manpower. We have found tiger pug marks in the Dibru-Saikhowa national park but could not spot the tiger in the park. We have installed several cameras inside to park but some of the cameras were taken away by the miscreants,”.  He said they are hopeful that one day they will spot big cat inside the park.

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