1| Hollongapar Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary ~
Among the best renowned Wildlife sanctuaries in Assam known for its population of the Hoolock Gibbons (the only Ape species found in India) and the Bengal Slow Loris (North East India’s only nocturnal primate) – the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Jorhat district of Assam that is an extension of the Patkai mountain foothills. Also known as the Hollongapar Reserve Forest, this entire stretch (21 sq. km) of area is an evergreen forest of Assam surrounded by small local village and the lush tea gardens that is home to rich biodiversity’s of flora, fauna and avifauna. The dominant tree species found in the area of the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary is that of Holong (Dipterous carpus macro carpus) and henceforth this place is also called as the Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary.
The forest cover here at the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam connects to the evergreen tracts of Nagaland as well. Originally this place was not a protected area but with the gradual rise of human habitation due to the establishment of the tea gardens and rehabilitation of the people from Majuli who had lost their homes to the annual flood havoc caused by the Brahmaputra river a need was required to confer the 21 sq. km area as protected to preserve the habitat of the animal species around the area. Various attempts have been made since then to preserve the wildlife of the area and today the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary is home to various primate species like:
- Hoolock Gibbons
- Bengal Slow Loris
- Stump Tailed Macaque
- Northern Pig-tail Macaque
- Eastern Assamese Macaque
- Rhesus Macaque
- Capper Langur
In addition to the above primate species, the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam is also home to Tigers, Leopards, Jungle Cats, Indian Elephants, Wild Boars, Civets, Squirrels, Jungle Fowls, Deer’s and many other mammal species including various bird species and reptiles.
And to boost the food habits of these species Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary has various flora species and the Bhogdoi river provides a source of water to the flora and fauna in the place that creates a water logged region that harbours various semi-hydrophyte plants and micro-system around the place. Some of the tea gardens around the area of the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary are Meleng, Kakojan, Chenijan, Katoni Bari, etc. The only mode of exploration inside the forest reserves is by hiking as there are no safari options available here. One has to take the services of a guide and forest guard to access the forest reserves of the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam and it is a nice chance for visitors to spot some of the primate species here.
Along with it one also has the chance of spotting various bird species inside the reserves of the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary and some of the bird species are Hornbills, Owls, Woodpeckers, Bulbuls, Drongos, Barbets, Egrets, etc. Since its inception as a protected area, the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary administration have taken numerous steps to preserve and protect the habitat of the animal species around here that has helped to maintain a healthy population of each of the primate species here but even today the threat looms over the animal habitat here as these are land encroachments by humans, large quantities of grass are collected from the forest reserves to feed the cattle. A railway track running across the area of the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary divides the park and movement of trains often poses as a threat to the wildlife especially as the area acts an elephant corridor with movement of these big mammals to nearby forests of Nagaland and the threat to their poaching remains. Yet the animals thrive making Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary a successful conservation story and among one of the most pristine Wildlife Sanctuaries in Assam as well as India.
To reach Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary the best way is to access it from the town of Jorhat in Upper Assam. It is hardly about an hour’s drive from Jorhat tot eh Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary and so one can plan on starting early from Jorhat here and hire the services of a guide along with forest guards and spend their day admiring the beautiful flora and fauna of the place especially the primate species.
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2| Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary ~
The most popular and tourist visited Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam is the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary near Guwahati (around 46 km from the main city centre) and this Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam is also referred to as the mini Kaziranga because of the presence of the population of the Indian One Horned Rhinoceros of Assam. The Rhinoceros species of Assam are found at Kaziranga National Park, Manas National Park and Orang National Park and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary has earned a distinctive reputation of being home to the Indian One Horned Rhinoceros and it was natural for Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary to have them because as per history these rhinoceros species had wandered into the forests of the earlier Mayong region as early as 1940s and the local villages accepted the presence of these rhinos and they started to live in harmony with this animal. From that time as per the latest census Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary now has a total population of 102 rhinos (2018 census) and this number is always at an increasing trend and all of this within an area of 38.8 sq. km. (core area of 16.2 sq. km.) and this makes home to the highest population density of the Indian One Horned Rhinoceros species anywhere in the World.
This distinction has earned Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary as a favoured tourist destination and today this Wildlife Sanctuary of Assam has recorded a good amount of footfall of not only domestic but international tourists as well. Although Kaziranga National Park being home to the highest population of the Indian one horned Rhinoceros and also a successful conservation story of this animal along with various others sees a lot of tourist footfalls when it comes to the visits from India and abroad but owing to its recent existence Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary is on a strong path to welcome more and more tourists to this place because it being the mini Kaziranga. Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary is not only the home to the Indian One Horned Rhinoceros but it also has a decent population of various other animals and bird species. Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary is a wonderland that has various gifts of Mother Nature all enclosed within an area of 38.8 sq. km of the place. Pobitora has a sub-tropical monsoon climate that sees an annual rainfall of around 2000 mm and the area of the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary is around 60% grasslands, 25% woodlands, 15% of wetlands and 115 perennial water logging area with the final 4% being marsh area.
These wetlands of Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary is a favourable destination for the bird life in the region and around 375 species of various birds both migratory and resident have been recorded here at the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam including some endangered and near threatened species as well. The various other animal species to be found at Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary in addition to the Indian One Horned Rhinoceros are leopards, Asiatic wild water buffaloes, wild boars, Hog deer, weasel, otters, Chinese Pangolins, Rhesus macaques, Jungle cats, fishing cats, civets, squirrels, etc. Pobitora is known to be home of the reptiles and around 27species of reptiles are to be found here including the Burmese Python, Rock Pythons, King Cobra, Indian Monitor Lizards and the various turtle species like the Indian Roof Turtle, Assam Roofed turtle, etc. In addition, this Wildlife Sanctuary of Assam records 80 species of butterflies and 9 species of frogs as well. Various birds to be found in Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary are Myna, Parrots, Ospreys, Great Indian Hornbill, Oriental Pied Hornbills, Eagles, Fishing Eagles, Herons, Black Necked Crane, Cranes, Egrets, etc.
There are a few good stay options around the area of Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary and these are in the form of small resorts like the Arya Eco Resort, Maibong Eco Resort, Zizina Otis Resort, Prashanti Tourist lodge, the Silent Rocks Homestay and the various camping options near Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary at the Sonoka village. To explore the varied flora, fauna and avifauna of Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary one has to go deep inside the forest reserves of Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary and for this the authorities at Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary offer visitors the options of Jeep Safari and Elephant safari ride into the interiors of Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary. The Elephant safari rides inside the forest reserves are scheduled in the morning and there are two slots at 6.30 AM and 7.30 AM, while the jeep safari rides into the interiors of Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary start at 7.30 AM in the morning and entry into the wildlife reserves continues to around 10 AM followed by 1.30 PM up to 3 PM. The Indian one horned Rhinoceros of Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary can also be witnessed grazing from a distance at the outskirts of Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary from the roads at a view point but to get a view up close one has to take a jeep safari ride into the interiors of Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam.
To know more about the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary please visit: http://pobitorawildlifesanctuary.wordpress.com
3| Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary
Another popular Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam is located very close to the Guwahati city and it is the Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary. Amchang was declared as a Wildlife Sanctuary in 2004 to protect the diverse wildlife of this 78.6 sq. km. area of land owning to the encroachment of land by people and since then this Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam has been able to harbour its wide and varied flora, fauna and avifauna life. The Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary is located around 15 km away from the Guwahati railway station and there are two approaches to this Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam. You can approach the Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary from the Panikheti area near Guwahati and also from the Sonapur area. There are various resort like the Dichang Resort, Brahmaputra Jungle Resort, Aarian Woods, George’s Retreat that are located close to the Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary and visitors can get the opportunity to enjoy a comfortable stay at these resorts and in the morning go to explore the forest reserves of the Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary.