Conservation Issues at Kaziranga

With a diverse fauna and varied flora and exotic fish species available and also the prized horn of the Indian One Horned Rhinoceros, Kaziranga National Park is always under threat from various external sources to protect its various fauna species. Not only are the Indian One Horned Rhinoceros at constant threat, the species of Elephants as well as Tigers face the fierce and ruthless nature of the poachers here at Kaziranga National Park. Apart from poachers, threats at Kaziranga National Park also loom from illegal grazing, floods, human habitation, silt deposits from river floods, mowing down of animals along the National Highway during floods, killing of animals when they stray into the paddy fields are only to name a few that pose as a major threats to the habitat of animals of Kaziranga National Park.

Some of the major external threats to the varied flora and fauna at Kaziranga National Park are ~

1| Threat as a result of competition from domestic animals:

Domestic cattle often enter the protected area of the forest reserves of the Kaziranga National Park from across the local villages. Indian One Horned Rhinoceros at Kaziranga National Park prefer to feed on short grasses but due to the grazing effects of the cattle too and overgrazing causes the ground to harden thereby crowding out the favoured grasses. In due course of time weeds take over this area and even the controlled burning of grasses by the forest department of Kaziranga National Park becomes ineffective. To add to this, the fear of endemics is often poses as a major threat that could be spread by the domestic cattle and such a disease could have a drastic impact on the population of the rhino population at the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve.

2| Rampant Poaching of Rhinoceros, Tigers and Elephants of Kaziranga National Park:

At the Kaziranga National Park, the vast area of over 400 sq. km. often poses as a hurdle to its staff to be manage effective patrolling around the National Park. Also with porous boundaries like the areas with rivers, poachers find an easy way in to the interiors of the forest reserves of Kaziranga National Park. Lack of adequate manpower to protect the porous the southern boundary has always been a vulnerability at Kaziranga. Again, to the north of the park, the Brahmaputra river acts as a natural boundary and poachers often use this route to operate. The Kaziranga National Park management has always taken stringent action against poachers and they have set up several anti poaching camps inside the forest reserve. Along with foot patrols and the help of locals in gathering important intelligence is helping to improve protection. Modern technology has also helped and drones are now being deployed for continuous monitoring. However, there is always a threat from poachers at Kaziranga National Park who manage to gun down these majestic animals for Elephant tusks, tiger bones, tiger skin and the ever prized horn of the Indian One Horned Rhinoceros.

3| Annual Floods at the Kaziranga National Park:

Every year during the monsoon season, floods are major problem in Assam as well as the Kaziranga National Park. Hundreds of animals die at the Kaziranga National Park as floods destroy their habitat and many animals are washed away along the strong current of the rivers crisscrossing the park. Some animals seek refuge in higher grounds but they need to cross the busy National Highway and are at times mowed down by vehicles especially at night. Although the rains bring in much needed vital nutrients for the soil at Kaziranga National Park, it toll is much higher on the animal life if the rain falls in quickly in a short period of time. The rain water quickly overtakes the low lying southern portions of the Kaziranga including the area round Bagori. Heavy rains cause animals to often drown in the waters. The Kaziranga National Park authorities take adequate steps always to cause minimal damage to animal life during the annual floods. They can be seen patrolling the areas around the highway day and night to stop cars from overspeeding as well as searching for animals who might have strayed their path into the highway and try to send them safely across the higher grounds.

4| Uncontrolled Human Settlement along the area of the Kaziranga National Park:

Human population growth has always affected the lives of animals on Earth. This major factor has caused habitat loss of animals across the World. From clearing forest areas to create place for human habitat to killing of animals for food and use in traditional medicines human settlement has always been a bane to animal population. The same is the scenario at the Kaziranga National Park. Humans population has thrived here due to fertile area of the National Park that is brought in by the silt deposits of rivers during floods. Human have their cultivation grounds around the area of the Kaziranga National Park and this is causing degradation of the animal habit here. Agricultural field often are moving in towards the areas of the park causing animals to often stray into the fields.

5| Environmental Pollution:

The area around the Kaziranga National Park is filled with many tea gardens and at a certain distance is a huge oil refinery area at Numaligarh. Use of chemicals in their day to day work often find the release of such toxic elements into the drainage systems that is in the end released into the rivers. These rivers often drain into the park causing  along and slow process of animal death. These chemicals often damage the internal systems of the Rhinoceros, tigers, elephants and birds. And also with increase in the number of tourist flow more number of tourist lodges, hotels, restaurants cause plastic litter, noise and light pollution too. These factors have a major impact on the habitat of the Kaziranga National Park.