Orang proposed as Assam’s fourth tiger reserve
The Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park is likely to become the fourth tiger reserve in Assam, with the state forest department planning to submit a proposal to the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change soon.
The proposal will be submitted following National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)’s recommendation for notifying Orang as a tiger reserve. The existing tiger reserves in the state are Kaziranga, Manas and Nameri.
The 79.28 sqkm park has 25.23 tigers per 100 sqkm, which is considered to be high big cat density. The park, located on the northern banks of the Brahmaputra, also has 100 rhinos as per the 2012 estimate.
Orang is connected with Kaziranga on the southern banks of the Brahmaputra by numerous sand islands. The NTCA’s report titled ‘Status of tigers, co-predators and prey in India’ underscored the fact that tiger population in Kaziranga is contiguous with Orang, connected by the sand islands of the Brahmaputra. The NTCA has also pointed out that Kaziranga and Orang taken together will have about 125 tigers.
According to the proposal submitted once the protected area is notified as a tiger reserve, the stretch of the Brahmaputra between Orang and Kaziranga, along with Laokhowa and Burhachapori wildlife sanctuaries, can effectively be secured as a buffer zone. The total area of the proposed Orang Tiger Reserve will be 790.17 square km, including 44.06 sqkm of Burhachapori and 70.10 sqkm of Laokhowa wildlife sanctuaries and 596.73 sq km stretch of the Brahmaputra serving as a tiger corridor.
Once Orang is declared as a tiger reserve, its boundaries will be secured which will reduce human-tiger conflict. The biggest threat to the tigers of Orang is retaliatory killings by villagers on the fringes of the park. In the last 10 years, at least 13 tigers were poisoned by villagers.
“Giving Orang this new status and providing a buffered zone linking it with Kaziranga would be a fabulous step forward for the protection of Assam’s Bengal tiger population,” says TigerTime which currently funds work in both national parks.
Source: Times of India