• Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

Raimona National Park records first photograph of mainland Serow

In the newly declared Raimona National Park of Assam, officials from Assam Forest Department along with conservationists have recorded the first photographic proof of the Mainland Serow, a vulnerable mammal species notified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Aaranyak the region’s foremost biodiversity conservation organisation, and Assam Forest Department, captured the photographic evidence of Mianland Serow in two independent events near the Ganda Bajrum Anti-poaching camp, located in the western range of Raimona National Park, using white flash passive Panthera (New York, USA) V6 digital camera traps.

The finding is published as a scientific paper on Journal of Threatened Taxa authored by Aaranyak’s senior scientist Dr M Firoz Ahmed, senior conservation biologist Dr Dipankar Lahkar, Nibir Medhi, Nitul Kalita; Bhanu Sinha AFS, DFO of Kachugaon Forest Division, Forest official Pranjal Talukdar, Biswajit Basumatary, Tunu Basumatary; Dr Ramie H. Begum, Associate Professor, Assam University (Diphu campus); and Dr Abishek Harihar, Director of Tiger Program, Panthera.

“The discovery of Mainland Serow in Raimona National Park is good news for biodiversity conservation aspects, and we are thrilled by the finding. Our goal is to conserve this species and other wildlife extensively in the national park”, Says Bhanu Sinha AFS, DFO of Kachugaon Forest Division

The mainland Serow population is widely distributed in the neighbouring Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary and the Royal Manas National Park of Bhutan, which may contribute to Raimona National Park’s population recovery.

“We would like to extend our warmest thanks to the National Park Authority for their collaborative efforts that led to the discovery of this beautiful species. There is a wealth of wildlife in Raimona National Park, and the finding of this species is good news for the conservation world.”, Says Dr M Firoz Ahmed, senior scientist with Aaranyak.

“The Mainland Serow (Capricornis sumatraensis thar) is present across various habitats extending from the Himalayas on the Indian subcontinent to southern China, mainland southeastern Asia, and Sumatra. The species’ populations are fragmented, isolated, and rapidly declining due to poaching, habitat destruction, and habitat loss. The lack of reliable data on this species’ abundance and distribution makes it difficult to implement effective conservation actions to ensure long-term survival”, Says Dr Dipankar Lahkar, a senior conservationist in Aaranyak.

Occasional poaching for bushmeat and habitat alteration due to logging during the ethnopolitical violence are the primary conservation concerns of the Raimona National Park. With the government now protecting the park, future conservation efforts should consider securing and recovering the species’ population and restoration of the degraded habitats.

The Assam government declared the area a national park on 08 June 2021. After nearly three decades of ethnopolitical violence, the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTR) was established in 2020 and conservation efforts have been fuelled since then.

Photo Credit: BTC Govt, BTC Forest Department and Aaranyak

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