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Decrease in eastern swamp deer population at Kaziranga National Park

  • Category
    Environment
  • Published
    25th Jan, 2022

Context

The Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve released the Wetland Bird Estimation Report for 2021-2022. And the Eastern Swamp Deer census has revealed a slight decrease in their numbers due to two high floods in 2019 and 2020.

About

About Eastern swamp deer

    • Eastern swamp deer (Rucervus duvaucelii ranjitsinhii), locally known as ‘Dal horina’ is the rarest recognised subspecies of swamp deer in India and Nepal. 
      • The subspecies’ scientific name Rucervus duvaucelii ranjitsinhii is named after MK Ranjitsinh, one of India’s leading voices on conservation in India contribution towards the identification of it as a separate subspecies of swamp deer.
    • The stronghold of the Eastern Swamp Deer is in Kaziranga, with a population of less than 1,000.
    • The species is one of the three subspecies of swamp deer, commonly known as the barasingha. 
    • The other two subspecies are: 
      • Wetland swamp deer (R.d. duvaucelii) found in Gangetic plains 
      • Hardground swamp deer (R.d. branderi) found in central India
  • Conservation Status
    • IUCN Red List: Vulnerable
    • CITES: Appendix I
    • Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule I

Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve

  • Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve, one of India’s seven UNESCO world heritage sites.
  • It is home to one-horned rhinos, Royal Bengal Tigers, and Asian Elephants in addition to thousands of birds of over 125 species.
  • Kaziranga lies in the floodplains of the Brahmaputra, a gargantuan river that crosses the international borders of Tibet, cuts through the mighty Himalayas, enters India through Arunachal Pradesh, and then turns south to reach Bangladesh. 

Key-highlights of the Report

  • A total of 66,776 birds of 126 species were enumerated using the Point Count method.
  • Out of this, 42,205 birds were counted in the Kaziranga National Park area while 24,571 birds were counted in Laokhowa and Burachapori Wildlife Sanctuaries.
  • As per the report, the ten most populous species include: 
    • Bar-headed Goose (16,552)
    • Northern Pintail (9,493)
    • Common Teal (5,631)
    • Little Cormorant (3,462)
    • Greylag Goose (3,453)
    • Lesser Whistling Duck (3,401)
    • Gadwall (2,430)
    • Ferruginous Duck (2,236)
    • Eurasian Coot (2133)
    • Eurasian Wigeon (1,731)
  • This is also the first time that Eastern Swamp Deer was estimated in the whole of the region. 
  • Prior to this, it was only estimated in the Kaziranga National Park.
  • Eastern Swamp Deer Estimation, 2022: In 2022, a total of 868 Eastern Swamp Deer have been recorded (including 173 male, 557 female, and 138 yearlings) compared to 907 in 2018. 
    • A decline has been estimated in their population due to the two high floods in 2019 and 2020.

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