• Mon. Mar 4th, 2024

After monsoon closure, Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary in Morigaon re-opens for tourists from today

The Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary in Morigaon district, Assam re-opens for tourists from today; after routine closure during the monsoon season.

Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary harbors the highest density of Rhino in the world and the second-highest concentration of Rhino in Assam after Kaziranga National Park.

The Wildlife Sanctuary, situated in the flood plains of River Brahmaputra in the district of Morigaon and about 45 km from Guwahati, the capital of Assam, India. Pobitora originally was a grazing reserve for cattle of erstwhile Nagaon district, came into the limelight during the year 1961-62 for sighting of One-Horned Rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis).

During that time a few rhinos strayed out of Lawkhowa and Orang Wild Life Sanctuaries and gradually became residents.

Two such grazing reserves comprising 38.83 square kilometers were declared as reserve forests in 1971.

In 1987, Pobitora was declared a wildlife sanctuary covering an area of 16 square kilometers. Presently the sanctuary is surrounded by 20 villages, the farmlands of which are frequented by rhinos.

In Pobitora wildlife sanctuary, there are now around 90 plus rhinos, a ten percent increase over the last six years. These 90 plus rhinos are surviving on merely 16 square kilometre area of the park.

Pobitora has exceeded its rhino-bearing capacity and is overpopulated; according to the official website of the wildfire sanctuary. Thus Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary harbors the world’s highest density of rhinoceros.

Besides rhinoceros, the other mammals found are Leopard, Leopard cat, Fishing cat, Jungle cat, Feral Buffalo, Wild pigs, Chinese pangolins etc., Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary is an Important Bird Area altogether 375 species of both migratory and resident birds of 46 families have been recorded so far, with 14 listed in the Indian Red Data Book, 27 species of reptiles 9 species of amphibians have been recorded in the Sanctuary.

In winter, Pobitora becomes a birder’s heaven, with thousands of waterfowl thronging the wetlands.

Pobitora can be divided into three distinct categories: forest, grassland and water bodies or beels.

Only about 13% of the total area is under tree cover, consisting of Albizzia procera, Bombax ceiba, Lagerstromia flosreginae and Barringtonia acutangula. About 72%of Pobitora consists of wet savannah of Arundo donax, Erianthus ravennae, Phragmites karka, Imperata cylindrica, and Saccharum.

The remaining area is covered by water bodies or beels. Water hyacinth Eichornia crassipes is a major problem, especially to waterfowl, as it forms thick mats on the water surface; adds the website of the wildlife sanctuary. Euryale ferox is seen in some open areas.

It is a very good breeding ground for Pheasant-tailed Jacana Hydrophasianus chirurgus and Bronze-winged Jacana Metopidius indicus.

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