As a member of Environment Preservation Group I have to visit several destinations which are abundant in flora and fauna. The Environment Preservation Group is divided into several groups and each group has its own function. I am a part of the Monitoring group who takes report from the Survey group. Recently our team went to Kaziranga National Park which is located in the Golaghat and Nagaon districts of the state of Assam. This is a World Heritage Site which cradles two-thirds of the world’s Great One-horned Rhinoceroses. And our project was based on tracking the exact number of Rhinos and causes of their decreasing number. So our team stayed here for many days. As I am in the monitoring team so I stayed here for one day because I had to take all the details which were gathered by our Survey Team.
I reached here from its nearest airport at Guwahati which is located about 200 km from this place. It was late night when I entered this land of natural panorama teeming with exotic collection of flora and fauna. The air was fresh, atmosphere was refreshing and the cacophony of wild animals captivated me soon after I entered this wild land.
I went to Bonoshree Tourist Lodge which is government maintained resort where I met my colleagues who briefed me about this place and progress of the project. While taking dinner at the rooftop I got a distant view of this park which was glistering due to moonlight. This panoramic view engrossed me completely and reminded me of my childhood days when I used to watch the Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book on television.
The foundation of this national park was laid by the Mary Victoria Leiter Curzon, the wife of the Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon. She was impressed by the exotic collections of flora, fauna and avifauna of this park in general and giant one horned rhinoceros in specific. She was fascinated with this place which insisted her to persuade her husband Lord Curzon the Viceroy of India to declare this park as a protected area. Finally on 1 June 1905, the Kaziranga Proposed Reserve Forest was created encompassing an area of 232 sq. km.
Today this national park spreads over an area of approximately 430-sq-kms with its swamps and tall elephant grass scattered everywhere. The topographical elevation of this park varies from 131 feet to 262 feet which is circumscribed by the river Brahmaputra along with two other rivers. Kaziranga is one of the largest tracts of protected land in the sub-Himalayan belt and due to the presence of highly diverse and visible species it has been described as a ‘biodiversity hotspot’.
We opted for a Jeep Safari as we had to cover long distance. I spent many hours in the park observing the abundant wildlife which fascinated me the most. The riverine plains of Kaziranga are framed by 14-foot-tall elephant grass making it a rich habitat for many endangered animals such as Rhinos, swamp deer, Asian elephants, Bengal Tiger, Asiatic water buffalo, Deer, Bear, Python, and many more. When I was inspecting some of the marked jungle trails many species of birds passed overhead which included the endangered Greater Indian Hornbill.
Some of the other most famous bird species of this place are Junglele fowl, Bengal florican and water fowl, goose, serpent eagle, Pella’s fishing eagle and Grey headed fishing Eagle and a large number of pelicans, Black naked stork, Snake Bird.
As we are not bound by the safari time so we stayed till late noon in the national park. Usually morning and evening Kaziranga National Park safari time is 06:30 am and 14:30 pm. I stayed in the midst of this bountiful jungle for more than 6 hours. During my safari the close encounter with the wild animals in their natural habitat fascinated me the most. I saw many animals and birds but the sight of Mother Rhino with her children moving slowly to the river basin touched me a lot. The care showed by mother Rhino almost touched our whole team which forced us to watch their activities for a long time.
I with my teammate returned to the Jungle Lodge after collecting relevant data and information. During our lunch we discussed some important issues that came out after survey along with the bite and taste of traditional Assamese food.
After taking all the relevant data, files and documents from my colleagues I left this place and returned to Guwahati. It was truly an overwhelming experience for me which I will remember for long.