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Sonai-Rupai a treasure trove of flora, fauna

By Correspondent

TEZPUR, June 6 � Resisting the danger faced due to encroachers, Arunachalis and the poachers, the Sonai-Rupai Sanctuary has been able to sustain its existence as a spot of scenic beauty only due to the initiative of the Forest Department personnel engaged in the sanctuary.

The Sonai-Rupai Sanctuary is located about 45 km away from Tezpur town and is surrounded by the Gabharu river in the east, Assam-Arunachal border and Kamengbari area in the west, Arunachal Pradesh in the north and Bengenajuli in the south. The Sonai-Rupai reserve forest was declared as Sanctuary in 1998.

Though sanctuary earlier covered an area of 2002 sq km but it has now decreased to 175 sq km. It still has innumerable valuable wood including bonsum, kholokh, gomari, titasopa, nahor, simolu, poma, bogori, rudrak, ajar, arjun, (local name) and many medicinal plants.

As there is sufficient grassland the sanctuary is one of the best choices for wild animals said Man mohan Nath, an officer of Sonai-Rupai posted at Kolamati gate adding that the Gelgeli range is one of the grazing areas for the elephant. �Though the previous elephant census in the sanctuary recorded 170 elephants it has increased to more than 200 elephant�, the forest official further stated.

The sanctionary is a haven for the migratory birds. Alongwith the wild animals like bison, deer, wild rabbit, beer, tiger, different species of birds such as hornbill, owl, different species of butterflies etc. are found in the sanctuary. It may be mentioned that in the sanctuary as per the forest guard�s information, existence of peacock was also noticed.

Following a viable atmosphere for the world�s smallest and rarest breed of wild pig in the sanctuary, the reintroduction programme of pigmy hogs in the Rupai wildlife Sanctuary, Sonai is paying rich dividends. According to project director, Gautom Narayan, the ground survey conducted recently alongwith video trapping has indicated that the under the Pygmy Hogs Conservation Programme (PHCP) are multiplying. It is to be stated here that the first batch of the rarest breed of the wild animal was reintroduced in May 2008 which comprised 16 pygmy hogs of which 7 were males and 9 females.

Likewise, the second batch released in 2009 comprised 5 males and 4 females and the third batch of 35 pygmy hogs will be released shortly in the sanctuary. The pygmy hog (porcula salvina) is the world�s smallest and rarest breed of wild pig.

The said breed, which is facing extinction in most parts of the world, stands about 25 cm from the ground and weighs 6 to 9 kg.

The conservation of the pygmy hog undertaken by PHCP was first initiated at the Basistha Research and Breeding Centre in 1996, with seven pygmy hogs of which 3 were males and 4 were females. These wild hogs were captured from Manas National park. Interestingly, the pygmy hog population in the State is confined to two isolated pockets, namely, the Manas National Park and Barnadi wildlife Sanctuary. The Pygmy Hog is an important indicator species and we need to know why it is disappearing faster than other hog species� said the Pygmy hog project director adding that the PHCP captive breeding programme may be the only thing standing between the species and it�s possible extinction. The release of pygmy hogs into the wild is a real challenge. A coordinated and sustained effort by the authorities concerned in collaboration with local conservation groups is necessary to save the world�s smallest breed of pig.

Meanwhile speaking about the administrative system of the sanctuary officer of the Kolamati gate office Manmohan Nath said that though encroachment in the sanctuary has been posing a serious threat, after it inclusion to the West Assam Division of Forest Department the problem is under control at present. There are altogether 10 camps inside the sanctuary which include Kamengbari camp, 24 km. camp, Jiabari camp, Gelgeli camp, Gadhajuli camp, Kherbari camp, Sambari camp, Serpa beel camp and the Gabharumukh camp.

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Sonai-Rupai a treasure trove of flora, fauna

TEZPUR, June 6 � Resisting the danger faced due to encroachers, Arunachalis and the poachers, the Sonai-Rupai Sanctuary has been able to sustain its existence as a spot of scenic beauty only due to the initiative of the Forest Department personnel engaged in the sanctuary.

The Sonai-Rupai Sanctuary is located about 45 km away from Tezpur town and is surrounded by the Gabharu river in the east, Assam-Arunachal border and Kamengbari area in the west, Arunachal Pradesh in the north and Bengenajuli in the south. The Sonai-Rupai reserve forest was declared as Sanctuary in 1998.

Though sanctuary earlier covered an area of 2002 sq km but it has now decreased to 175 sq km. It still has innumerable valuable wood including bonsum, kholokh, gomari, titasopa, nahor, simolu, poma, bogori, rudrak, ajar, arjun, (local name) and many medicinal plants.

As there is sufficient grassland the sanctuary is one of the best choices for wild animals said Man mohan Nath, an officer of Sonai-Rupai posted at Kolamati gate adding that the Gelgeli range is one of the grazing areas for the elephant. �Though the previous elephant census in the sanctuary recorded 170 elephants it has increased to more than 200 elephant�, the forest official further stated.

The sanctionary is a haven for the migratory birds. Alongwith the wild animals like bison, deer, wild rabbit, beer, tiger, different species of birds such as hornbill, owl, different species of butterflies etc. are found in the sanctuary. It may be mentioned that in the sanctuary as per the forest guard�s information, existence of peacock was also noticed.

Following a viable atmosphere for the world�s smallest and rarest breed of wild pig in the sanctuary, the reintroduction programme of pigmy hogs in the Rupai wildlife Sanctuary, Sonai is paying rich dividends. According to project director, Gautom Narayan, the ground survey conducted recently alongwith video trapping has indicated that the under the Pygmy Hogs Conservation Programme (PHCP) are multiplying. It is to be stated here that the first batch of the rarest breed of the wild animal was reintroduced in May 2008 which comprised 16 pygmy hogs of which 7 were males and 9 females.

Likewise, the second batch released in 2009 comprised 5 males and 4 females and the third batch of 35 pygmy hogs will be released shortly in the sanctuary. The pygmy hog (porcula salvina) is the world�s smallest and rarest breed of wild pig.

The said breed, which is facing extinction in most parts of the world, stands about 25 cm from the ground and weighs 6 to 9 kg.

The conservation of the pygmy hog undertaken by PHCP was first initiated at the Basistha Research and Breeding Centre in 1996, with seven pygmy hogs of which 3 were males and 4 were females. These wild hogs were captured from Manas National park. Interestingly, the pygmy hog population in the State is confined to two isolated pockets, namely, the Manas National Park and Barnadi wildlife Sanctuary. The Pygmy Hog is an important indicator species and we need to know why it is disappearing faster than other hog species� said the Pygmy hog project director adding that the PHCP captive breeding programme may be the only thing standing between the species and it�s possible extinction. The release of pygmy hogs into the wild is a real challenge. A coordinated and sustained effort by the authorities concerned in collaboration with local conservation groups is necessary to save the world�s smallest breed of pig.

Meanwhile speaking about the administrative system of the sanctuary officer of the Kolamati gate office Manmohan Nath said that though encroachment in the sanctuary has been posing a serious threat, after it inclusion to the West Assam Division of Forest Department the problem is under control at present. There are altogether 10 camps inside the sanctuary which include Kamengbari camp, 24 km. camp, Jiabari camp, Gelgeli camp, Gadhajuli camp, Kherbari camp, Sambari camp, Serpa beel camp and the Gabharumukh camp.