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Assam’s Kaziranga National Park records 27% increase in waterbirds

  • Published
    13th Jan, 2024
Context

The tiger reserve is now among the top five habitats of resident and winter migratory birds in India.

Background
  • Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve, renowned for safeguarding the greater one-horned rhinoceros, has recently reported a remarkable 27% increase in the number of resident and winter migratory waterbirds.
  • The findings, unveiled through the fifth waterbird census, conducted under the citizen scientist initiative, reveal a flourishing avian community within the 1,302 sq. km wildlife preserve.

I.  A Birdwatcher's Haven: Kaziranga's Waterbird Census Results

  • The census, showcased a substantial rise in the waterbird population, recording a total of 84,839 birds. This marked an 18,063 increase from the previous census conducted in 2021-22.

II. Kaziranga Among the Top Waterbird Habitats

  • Park officials announce that the recorded surge in waterbird numbers places Kaziranga among the top five habitats for waterbirds in the country.

III. Extensive Survey Efforts

  • The census was conducted simultaneously across 115 waterbodies in three divisions of the Kaziranga Tiger Reserve - Eastern Assam Wildlife, Nagaon Wildlife, and Biswanath Wildlife.

Analysis:

  • The substantial increase in the waterbird population is indicative of Kaziranga's robust conservation efforts and the health of its unique terrestrial and aquatic habitats.
  • With over 50% of its landmass under grasslands and numerous water bodies, Kaziranga provides an ideal environment for both resident and migratory birds.
  • The park's ecological significance, acknowledged by organizations like the Bombay Natural History Society and BirdLife International, reaffirms its standing as an Important Bird Area.

IV. Notable Wetlands and Species

  • Wetlands adjoining the tiger reserve, including Kaziranga-Hukuma Beel and Joysagar Doloni, recorded 3,049 and 1,765 birds, respectively.
  • Other significant wetlands, like Gonak Beel, Sahala Beel, and Sisubari Beel, also contributed to the overall bird presence.

V.  Rich Avian Biodiversity

  • Kaziranga sustains more than 500 avian species, making it a popular destination for birders.
  • Unique and endangered species reported during the census include Baer’s pochard, Baikal teal, greater scaup, gull-billed tern, and black stork.

Analysis:

  • The variety of wetlands and the diverse species recorded in Kaziranga highlight the park's commitment to the conservation and protection of its avian inhabitants.
  • The presence of rare and endangered species underlines the importance of Kaziranga in maintaining biodiversity.

Way Forward:

  • Kaziranga National Park's success in the waterbird census not only signifies a thriving avian ecosystem but also emphasizes the park's commitment to preserving its unique biodiversity.
  • As a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, Kaziranga continues to play a pivotal role in wildlife conservation and ecological balance.
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