Manas National ParkManas National Park is a National Park, UNESCO Natural World Heritage site, a Project Tiger Reserve, an Elephant Reserve and a Biosphere Reserve in Assam, India. Located in the Himalayan foothills with a part extends to Bhutan. The park is well know for its rare and endangered wildlife which is not found anywhere else in the world like the Assam Roofed Turtle, Hispid Hare, Golden Langur and Pygmy Hog.
History of the ParkThe Manas National Park was declared a sanctuary on October 01, 1928 with an area of 360 sq. km. Manas Tiger reserve was created in 1973. Prior to the declaration of the sanctauary it was a Reserved Forest called Manas R.F. and North Kamrup R.F.. It was used by the Cooch Behar royal family and Raja of Gauripur as a hunting reserve. In 1951 and 1955 the area was increased to 391 sq. km. It was declared a World Heritage site in December 1985 by UNESCO. Kahitama R.F., the Kokilabari R.F. and the Panbari R.F. were added in the year 1990 to form the Manas National Park. In 1992, UNESCO declared it as a world heritage site in danger due to heavy poaching and terrorist activities.
Geography of the ParkPolitical Geography: The park area falls in six districts: Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Barpeta, Nalbari, Kamrup and Darrang in the state of Assam in India. Physical Geography: Manas is located in the Eastern Himalayas foothills. The park is densely forested. The Manas river is the main river, a major tributary of Brahmaputra river. The Manas River flows through the west of the park, further it splits into two separate rivers, the Beki and Bholkaduba. Manas and five other small rivers flow through the National Park which lies on a wide low-lying alluvial terrace below the foothills of the outer Himalaya. The bedrock of the savanna area in the north of the park is made up of Limestone and sandstone, whereas the grasslands in the south of the park is made up of deep deposits of fine alluvium. The combination of Sub-Himalayan Bhabar Terai formation along with riverine succession continuing up to Sub-Himalayan mountain forest making it one of the richest biodiversity areas in the world. The park is 391 km˛. in area and situated at a height of 61m to 110m above mean sea level.
Climate: The minimum temperature is around 15 degree C and maximum temperature is around 37 degree C. Heavy rainfall occurs between May and September and the annual average rainfall is around 333 cm.
FaunaThe park has recorded 55 species of mammals, 380 species of birds, 50 of reptiles, and 3 species of amphibians. Out of these wildlife, 21 mammals are India’s Schedule I mammals and 31 of them are threatened.
The fauna of the park includes Tigers, Elephants, Rhinoceros, Wild Buffaloes, Leopards, Clouded Leopards, Gaurs, Swamp Deer, Capped Langurs, Golden Langurs, Assamese Macaques, Slow Loris, Hoolock Gibbons, Smooth Indian Otters, Sloth Bears, Barking Deer, Hog Deer, Sambar and Chital.
The park is well know for its rare and endangered wildlife which is not found anywhere else in the world like the Assam Roofed Turtle, Hispid Hare, Golden Langur and Pygmy Hog.
Manas houses about 380 species of birds. Manas have the largest population of endangered Bengal Florican. The major other birds includes Giant Hornbills, Jungle Fowls, Bulbuls, Brahminy Ducks, Khaleej Pheasants, Egrets, Pelicans, Fishing Eagles, Serpent Eagles, Falcons, Scarlet Minivets, Bee-Eaters, Magpie Robins, Pied Hornbills, Gray Hornbills, Mergansers, Harriers, Ospreys and Herons.
The best way to watch wildlife at the park is to use powerful binoculars, with night vision facilities at night. The ideal way to explore a majority of the Manas National Park in Assam is in a 4-wheel (Jeep) drive petrol vehicle. A boat ride on Manas river which commences its ride from Mathanguri and ends around 35km away is another popular option. The third option, which is a favourite with most visitors, are the elephant rides organised by the park authorities from Mathanguri. These take you deep in to the densest areas of the forest and often right in between some of the wildlife there, including elephants, rhinos and wild buffaloes. The park is closed in the Monsoon season.
A Forest Lodge inside the park is situated at Mothanguri.
Manas Jungle Camp is a Community cum Conservation Tourism project in Kokilabari near Eastern Core area of the Manas National Park, run by the local Conservation NGO MMES(Manas Maozigendri Ecotourism Society)and ,and is committed to the revival of Manas and get it free from the UNESCO Red-list.The camp has 04 ethnic cottages in a som plantation meant for rearing of famous muga silk of assam at the park boundary.The project runs various conservation programmes,Cultural self-help groups,Handicraft self-help groups,and conducts regular patrolling inside the park in association with the Forest department to stop poaching, cattle grazing.This initiative has already received appreciation from the UNESCO-World Heritage Commission,and people from all over the world,and is considered as the most positive development towards the revival of Manas.
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