In Assam’s Udalguri, a thriving biodiversity park now needs help


Guwahati: A forest for many are tigers, lions, elephants and in the case of Assam, rhinos. However, a forest is much more than these animals: a plethora of species of plants and animals; reptiles and insects, complete a forest.

Creation of the Kanaklata biodiversity park

Jayanta Kumar Das of Assam, renowned journalist and wildlife activist from Udalguri district in Kalaigaon, has dedicated his life to the conservation of this entire ecosystem. Das takes care of the Kanaklata Biodiversity Park created in 2008 by the board of directors of Kalaigaon Sevashram. His father, social worker and freedom fighter, the late Pani Ram Das, had donated 60 bighas from his own land (valued at Rs 1.5 Cr by Bigha at present) covered with artificial wetlands suitable for birds water, meadows and natural and man-made forests. for the cause.

Migratory birds – Piping ducks from Kanaklata Biodiversity Park

“Jayanta (Das) is a nature lover and a very good person and since I love nature too I encouraged him. Kanaklata Biodiversity Park is a 20-acre stretch of land that is actually named after its mother. He is a ‘lone warrior’ and has put on a solo show, struggling to preserve this space in order to teach future generations about nature, forestry, fish and birds ”, DN Hazarika, ACS, former officer of the income circle of Udalguri district. , currently in post secretary of the administration of the BTC, declared EastMojo.

Hazarika himself was involved in the rescue and release of 25 baby lizards who were brought to the park in 2016 at Das’ initiative.

“There are reserve forests in cities like Delhi, so why can’t we have one near the city of Kalaigaon? It should be cultivated more. We have to protect all animals big and small and we have to coexist with nature, ”added Hazarika.

Diverse flora and fauna in the park

The management of Kanaklata Biodiversity Park is led by the head of the revenue circle as president and by Jayanta Kumar Das himself, who has been the secretary of the committee since 2015. With Das’ active participation, the park is now home to ‘Hui rescued snakes, endangered owls and many wetland birds.

An adult monitor lizard visiting a house near the biodiversity park.

Some other animals that have found refuge in the park include jackals, mongooses, spectacle and monocled cobras, monitor lizards, Tokay geckos, cormorants, minor whistling ducks, open-billed storks, patriges, many species of butterflies and civets.

“We have a center called ENVIS Hub-Assam. It is an Environmental Information Center, a program under the Indian Government of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF & CC). The park (Kanaklata Bio-diversity Park) adopted it as a center for learning about biodiversity. We investigated and submitted a proposal to the ministry, after which the area was adopted, ”said Manisha Sarma, scientific officer of ASTEC. EastMojo.

“All local students from nearby schools and colleges come to the park and learn about various species. During the winter season, they get to know migrating birds, ”Sarma explained.

ENVIS Hub-Assam also approached Tang La College for help, and four professors showed keen interest in the nomenclature of the flora and fauna present there. “They will study migratory birds after their visit this year, after which we will report and submit to the ministry (MoEF & CC),” the chief scientist informed.

Tackle poaching, drying up of water bodies

Although small, the biodiversity park has seen unique and rare wildlife, but due to the lack of a perimeter wall, poachers and unauthorized people frequently enter the park and kill rare animals and birds.

During the dry season, water bodies dry up, causing the death of aquatic animals and loss of home for waterfowl.

“This biodiversity park could be a center for learning about biodiversity and learning about the behavior of wild animals. An RCC perimeter wall will protect the animals and finally, the excavation of a wetland will help the wetland birds during the dry season, ”said Das, who also wrote to the secretary of the Bodoland territorial region and to other organizations seeking help.

Das recognizes the urgency of protecting the region’s forests and urges residents and the government to take action in this direction bearing in mind that of the 24,996 hectares of reserve forest and proposed reserve forest land, at least 8,763 hectares have been lost due to encroachment under the Dhansiri Forest Division.

Declaration of reserve forest and proposed reserve forest

S.No. Name of RF / PRF RF / PRF area Encroaching RF / PRF area Total households Total population Other details
1 Khalingduar reserve forest 7090.20 Hect 1365.00 Hect 282 n ° 1416
2 Rota reserve forest 7,739.99 Hect 2342.53 Hect 3727 n ° 17573
3 Bhairabkunda reserve forest 2440.75 Hect 155.20 Hect 85 Our 328 Eviction on 08/03/2015 – Evicted 24 houses.

Eviction on 05/13/2016 – 49 houses evicted.

Replanted areas.

4 Proposed Kundarbil Reserve Forest 992.00 Hect 920.00 Hect 182 Our 446
5 Proposed Bhairabkunda Reserve Forest 3543.00 Hect 3520.00 Hect 267 n ° 1310
6 Newly Hill Proposed Reserve Forest 568.00 Hect 60.00 Hect
seven Barnadi Wildlife Sanctuary 2621.813 Hect 400.00 Hect 436 no. 2178

Other initiatives

Das has also taken various initiatives to raise awareness of wildlife conservation in the district, especially among students and children, educating them on the need to protect the region’s wildlife by bringing them to the park for a study on the ground.

The India-Bhutan transboundary area is of particular importance as it provides refuge for nearly 10 percent of the world’s Asian elephants, including 40 percent of India’s remaining elephant population.

Das started a community program called the Elephants on the line reduce the loss of human life and elephants in the region, in particular in the Udalguri district.

Das’ initiative also garnered support from the University of North Carolina in the United States, as well as the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Asian Elephant Support, Riddle’s Elephant and Wildlife Sanctuary, Dhansiri Forest and Udalguri District Administration.

The Udalguri district region on the Bhutan-Indian border is a hotbed of such conflicts with 73 elephants and 175 human lives lost out of at least 825 elephant deaths and 875 human deaths across Assam in just a decade between 2010 and 2020.

The program serves as a guide for important projects involving education, training, prevention of HEC (Human-Elephant Conflict), the well-being of marginal populations, the creation of elephant refuges with water, fodder and rest areas and re-establishment of corridors for the safe movement of the jumbos.

Read also: Assam: a 2-year-old child killed in a shootout to hunt elephants, two guards arrested

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