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Assessment of Kaziranga corridors critical to unhindered animal movement

By SIVASISH THAKUR
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GUWAHATI, June 24 - With the Supreme Court asking the State government to ensure protection to the wildlife corridors that link Kaziranga National Park with the hilly forests of Karbi Anglong to its south, conservationists believe that an assessment of the current status of the corridors would be critical to putting in place a long-term plan to facilitate unhindered animal movement.

The wildlife of Kaziranga generally migrates southwards into the adjoining hills and forests of Karbi Anglong after passing through NH-37. For this migration, which is more pronounced during flood time, animals have been using four corridors � Panbari, Haldhibari, Amguri and Kanchanjuri � all of which are facing serious anthropogenic pressures.

WWF-India, which has been monitoring animal movement in the corridors jointly with the Kaziranga authorities through camera traps since 2011, has recorded as many as 30 species of animals using the corridors. This includes tiger, rhino, elephant, leopard, black panther, golden cat, clouded leopard, sambar, hog deer, etc.

The Panbari corridor distributed in the districts of Golaghat and Karbi Anglong comprises the third addition of KNP, Panbari RF, Dolamara PRF, patches of community areas of Karbi Anglong, Diffolu tea estate (TE), Methoni TE, Naharjan TE, Jamin Sikarigaon, Kiling Gaon, etc. A 4-km stretch of NH-37 between Panbari and Borjuri area is passing through the northernmost part of the corridor complex.

�There are 15 villages with about 5,000 inhabitants living in and around this corridor. This corridor is mostly used by elephant, leopard, hog deer, sambar, wild boar, barking deer, hog deer, and large Indian civet as per our camera trapping exercises,� Dr PJ Borah of WWF India said.

The Haldhibari corridor distributed in the districts of Golaghat (the western-most part) and Karbi Anglong has a width of about 2 km along the NH-37 located between the Bagori and Kohora range offices of the national park. It connects Kaziranga with North Karbi Anglong Wildlife Sanctuary and the adjoining hills of Karbi Anglong.

There are about eight villages comprising some 3,500 people living around this corridor. It comprises the fifth and second additions of KNP, part of Hatikhuli TE, and nearby villages. �This corridor is regularly used by rhino, tiger, elephant, hog deer, barking deer, etc., throughout the year, especially during the flood season,� Dr Borah said.

The Kanchanjuri corridor located in Nagaon district is about 6-7 km wide along NH-37 located between Deosur bridge (Burapahar) and Deopani bridge. It connects Kaziranga with Bagser RF of Nagaon and the adjoining foothills of Karbi Anglong (Ruthe Pahar), and also includes the entire fourth addition and part of the first addition of Kaziranga.

�This is considered to be an important animal corridor and high animal movement has been documented during the ongoing camera trapping exercises. This corridor is mostly used by rhino, tiger, elephant, wild buffalo, hog deer, sambar, wild boar, barking deer, large Indian civet, etc. There are 7-8 major tracks in the entire corridor stretch along NH 37 which are most actively used by animals migrating from Kaziranga towards the south,� he said.

About 3,000 people in eight villages are living in and around this corridor.

The Amguri corridor connects the first addition areas of Kaziranga under Burapahar range to Bagser RF in Nagaon district and the adjoining hills of Karbi Anglong in south. This corridor consists of a big stretch of paddy fields, tea gardens and households which lie between the park�s boundary to Bagser RF, and anthropogenic pressure is very high in this corridor.

�Rhino, tiger, elephant, clouded leopard, wild buffalo, hog deer, sambar, wild boar, barking deer, etc., are mostly using this corridor. There are seven villages with about 2,500 people in and around this corridor,� he said.

A forest official said that compared to earlier times, wildlife movement from Kaziranga to Karbi Anglong has intensified in recent years. �The contiguity of the Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong landscape facilitates this. And with Kaziranga�s wildlife proliferating, more animals are crossing over to the Karbi Anglong side for food and space. This, however, raises security concerns, as the prevailing security mechanism in Karbi Anglong forests is far weaker than that of Kaziranga,� he said.

Significantly, not all the migrating wildlife is frequenting the North and East Karbi Anglong wildlife sanctuaries. �A large number of wildlife have been observed in reserve forests and community forestland as well,� he said.

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Assessment of Kaziranga corridors critical to unhindered animal movement

GUWAHATI, June 24 - With the Supreme Court asking the State government to ensure protection to the wildlife corridors that link Kaziranga National Park with the hilly forests of Karbi Anglong to its south, conservationists believe that an assessment of the current status of the corridors would be critical to putting in place a long-term plan to facilitate unhindered animal movement.

The wildlife of Kaziranga generally migrates southwards into the adjoining hills and forests of Karbi Anglong after passing through NH-37. For this migration, which is more pronounced during flood time, animals have been using four corridors � Panbari, Haldhibari, Amguri and Kanchanjuri � all of which are facing serious anthropogenic pressures.

WWF-India, which has been monitoring animal movement in the corridors jointly with the Kaziranga authorities through camera traps since 2011, has recorded as many as 30 species of animals using the corridors. This includes tiger, rhino, elephant, leopard, black panther, golden cat, clouded leopard, sambar, hog deer, etc.

The Panbari corridor distributed in the districts of Golaghat and Karbi Anglong comprises the third addition of KNP, Panbari RF, Dolamara PRF, patches of community areas of Karbi Anglong, Diffolu tea estate (TE), Methoni TE, Naharjan TE, Jamin Sikarigaon, Kiling Gaon, etc. A 4-km stretch of NH-37 between Panbari and Borjuri area is passing through the northernmost part of the corridor complex.

�There are 15 villages with about 5,000 inhabitants living in and around this corridor. This corridor is mostly used by elephant, leopard, hog deer, sambar, wild boar, barking deer, hog deer, and large Indian civet as per our camera trapping exercises,� Dr PJ Borah of WWF India said.

The Haldhibari corridor distributed in the districts of Golaghat (the western-most part) and Karbi Anglong has a width of about 2 km along the NH-37 located between the Bagori and Kohora range offices of the national park. It connects Kaziranga with North Karbi Anglong Wildlife Sanctuary and the adjoining hills of Karbi Anglong.

There are about eight villages comprising some 3,500 people living around this corridor. It comprises the fifth and second additions of KNP, part of Hatikhuli TE, and nearby villages. �This corridor is regularly used by rhino, tiger, elephant, hog deer, barking deer, etc., throughout the year, especially during the flood season,� Dr Borah said.

The Kanchanjuri corridor located in Nagaon district is about 6-7 km wide along NH-37 located between Deosur bridge (Burapahar) and Deopani bridge. It connects Kaziranga with Bagser RF of Nagaon and the adjoining foothills of Karbi Anglong (Ruthe Pahar), and also includes the entire fourth addition and part of the first addition of Kaziranga.

�This is considered to be an important animal corridor and high animal movement has been documented during the ongoing camera trapping exercises. This corridor is mostly used by rhino, tiger, elephant, wild buffalo, hog deer, sambar, wild boar, barking deer, large Indian civet, etc. There are 7-8 major tracks in the entire corridor stretch along NH 37 which are most actively used by animals migrating from Kaziranga towards the south,� he said.

About 3,000 people in eight villages are living in and around this corridor.

The Amguri corridor connects the first addition areas of Kaziranga under Burapahar range to Bagser RF in Nagaon district and the adjoining hills of Karbi Anglong in south. This corridor consists of a big stretch of paddy fields, tea gardens and households which lie between the park�s boundary to Bagser RF, and anthropogenic pressure is very high in this corridor.

�Rhino, tiger, elephant, clouded leopard, wild buffalo, hog deer, sambar, wild boar, barking deer, etc., are mostly using this corridor. There are seven villages with about 2,500 people in and around this corridor,� he said.

A forest official said that compared to earlier times, wildlife movement from Kaziranga to Karbi Anglong has intensified in recent years. �The contiguity of the Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong landscape facilitates this. And with Kaziranga�s wildlife proliferating, more animals are crossing over to the Karbi Anglong side for food and space. This, however, raises security concerns, as the prevailing security mechanism in Karbi Anglong forests is far weaker than that of Kaziranga,� he said.

Significantly, not all the migrating wildlife is frequenting the North and East Karbi Anglong wildlife sanctuaries. �A large number of wildlife have been observed in reserve forests and community forestland as well,� he said.