Kaziranga: India’s Kingdom of the large animals
An Indian rhino weighs as much as a SUV. Rhinoceros unicornis looks as if they wearing protective shields made of wrinkled leather on their backside. Bigger is only the African white rhino. And only the Sumatran rhinoceros and the Javan rhino are more risky. Once the rhinoceros were spreading from Pakistan to Myanmar. Today there is not even 2700 animals of this kind. Some 700 animals of this kind live in small protected areas in northern India and in neighboring Nepal. Virtually all the rest – the last count by about 2,000 animals – Resides in the 860 square kilometer of Kaziranga national park . It lies between Brahmaputra River and the Karbi hills with sandy islands and floodplains. If you exclude the water surface, jostling on every square mile of the park, on average four of these primitive and rather excitable unicorns.
There were already a lot less. A hundred years ago there were in the northern Indian state of Assam is less than 200 rhinos. Agriculture had collected most of the river valleys in which they reside and prefer to live. Trophy hunters and poachers hunted the last survivors.
In 1908, the Kaziranga reserve has been established primarily to protect the rhinos. There were about a dozen left. Over the years, the sanctuary was enlarged and in 1974 received the status of a national park . In 1985 it was declared a World Heritage Site. A little more than ten years, the government doubled the reserve area (however, still there objections of former land owners). Today is the most important Kaziranga Rhino Sanctuary in Asia, a reservoir from which animals can also be made in other reserves – the key to the future of the rhinoceros.
The National Park is a tremendous success. Besides the rhinos live here, there are nearly 1300 Indian elephant, 1800 buffalo – the largest population in the world – at the 9000 pig deer, 800 Barasinghahirsche, dozens of horses and hundreds of wild boar.
Large-scale deforestation and poaching are the reasons that in the past 25 years, most Indian tigers were exterminated. But not in Kaziranga National Park. According to official estimates, there are 90-100 indian tigers. This is perhaps the largest population density of these big cats in the world.
How can this national park in so many large animals live on such a small area? The answer is the river. The Brahmaputra originates in Tibet. It flows about 1,100 miles east, then turns towards the west and flows 800 kilometers through India and Bangladesh. At the time of the summer monsoon season it floods the valley. When the water drained, they have the flood plain covered with nutrient-rich mud. Sedges and grasses grow luxuriantly, up to six meters high, a sea of lush, high-energy food for herbivores. Such high-grass habitats, as experts call these flood areas are richer in large animals as the forest of the subtropics, but much less frequently. Of biodiversity and number of animals it can absorb the Kaziranga African savannah with the most famous national parks.
On higher ground are airy trees, vines interconnected by thatched roofs. Rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) parading along the braided stems of climbing plants. Parakeets and hornbills lights in the branches. Out of the Shadows invade the voices of hundreds of other bird species.
Abdullah Al Abbadi