The Amazon of the east, Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary – World Environment Day

This World Environment Day, I, would like to write about one of the Wildlife Sanctuaries from Assam, India .The home to 47 mammal species, 47 reptile species and 310 butterfly species and known as the amazon of the east “Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary”. This day itself has been around since 1974, and according to the UN, it is their most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of the environment.

Each year, World Environment Day takes on a theme that focuses on a pressing environmental concern. This years’ theme is ‘Time for Nature,’ with a focus on its role in providing the essential infrastructure that supports life on Earth and human development.

Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary

The Sanctuary with an area of 111.19 Sq. Kms. is located in Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts of Assam and is famous for Assam Valley Tropical Wet Evergreen Forests bordering Arunachal Pradesh. The Sanctuary is a part of the Dehing-Patkai Elephant Reserve having the World War II cemeteries nearby, along with the Stillwell Road and the oldest refinery of Asia in Digboi and ‘open cast’ coal mining at Lido.

Dehing Patkai, is the only rainforest in Assam. This sanctuary consists of three parts: Jeypore, upper Dihing River and Dirok rainforest. It was declared as sanctuary on 13 June 2004. This sanctuary is also a part of Dehing-Patkai Elephant Reserve. The area also has some historic attractions, including several World War II cemeteries, the Stillwell road and the Digboi refinery, the oldest in Asia.

The rainforest stretches for more than 575 km2 in the districts of Dibrugarh, Tinsukia and Sivasagar. A part of the forest was declared as a wildlife sanctuary by the Government of Assam, while another part falls under the Dibru-Deomali elephants reserve. The forest further spreads over in the Tirap and Changlang districts of Arunachal Pradesh. The Dehing Patkai forms the largest stretch of tropical low-land rainforests in India. The forest is often referred as “The Amazon of the east” owing to its large area and thick forests.

Being a completely virgin rainforest, this sanctuary is very rich in biodiversity. It is an ideal habitat for non-human primates. Till date, 47 mammal species, 47 reptile species and 310 butterfly species have been recorded. The most common mammal species of this sanctuary are Hoolock Gibbon, Slow Loris, Pig-Tailed Macaque, Stump-Tailed Macaque, Capped Langur, Asian Elephant, Bengal Tiger, Indian Leopard, Gaur, Chinese Pangolin, Himalayan Black Bear, Himalayan Squirrel, Leopard Cat, Clouded Leopard, Porcupine, Crab Eating Mongoose, Sambar, Sun Bear, Binturong, Barking Deer, Golden Cat and Marbled Cat.

Dehing Patkai rainforest harbours about 293 bird species, belonging to 174 genera and 51 families. The majority is resident (63.7%), some are winter visitors (23.1% ), and very few are summer visitors (2.5%). About 10.7% are altitudinal migrants, coming mainly from the higher reaches of the western, central and eastern Himalayas. Avifauna includes slender-billed vulture, white-winged duck, greater adjutant, lesser adjutant greater spotted eagle, beautiful nuthatch, marsh babbler, tawny-breasted wren-babbler, yellow-vented warbler, broad-billed warbler, white-naped yuhina, white-cheeked partridge, great hornbill, brown hornbill, Oriental darter and painted stork, osprey, kalij pheasant, grey peacock pheasant, besra, black baza and hill myna.

The different trees of this four-layered rainforest are laden with many exotic species of orchids and bromeliads. There is an abundance of ferns, epiphytes, wild banana, orchids, arums, climbers and linas in this humid forest habitat. Some of the important tree species found in this forest area are – Hollang, Mekai, Dhuna, Udiyam, Nahar, Samkothal, Bheer, Hollock, Nahor, Au – tenga (elephant apple), different species of Dimoru etc. The towering Hollong tree which is also the state tree of Assam dominates the emergent layer of this rainforest.

For More Info visit Assam Tourism Website

Photo Credits – S.H. Patgiri, Rofikul
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