Guwahati: The much-awaited Gazette notification giving national park status to Raimona National Park and Dehing-Patkai was issued by the state government on June 9 and June 16 respectively.
This comes after Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on World Environment Day announced two new national parks for the state.
“The notification of Raimona National Park is of huge conservation significance, strengthening the Greater Manas Landscape,” said Vivek Menon, Founder and Executive Director WTI and Senior Advisor IFAW.
“The addition of this Protected Area is yet another milestone after the First Addition to Manas. The addition of 700 sq km to India’s Protected Area Network is due to a proactive leadership in the Bodoland Territorial Region actively supported by the Assam state government and the combined efforts of the community, NGOs and 15 years of consistent conservation action through IFAW-WTI’s work in Bringing Back Manas,” he rejoiced.
“The Phipsoo Wild Life Sanctuary and Namgyal Wangchuk Wildlife Sanctuary of Bhutan located on the north are contiguous to Raimona National Park and therefore present the possibility of a Transboundary Peace Park with Bhutan,” he added.
With Buxa Tiger Reserve to the east and Manas National Park, these protected areas collectively cover more than 3000 sq. km in this landscape. The notification of Raimona National Park has also helped fulfil the recommendations made by the UNESCO World Heritage Site committee in the decision report vide WHC-11/35.COM/20, p. 22 dt 21st June 2011 to consider the extension of the Manas World Heritage site property in three stages.
While the entire Greater Manas landscape was politically declared as the Bodoland Territorial Council in 2009 after surveys and recommendations made by IFAW-WTI , the Gazette notification of the First Addition to Manas that added 350 sq. km to the Protected Area came through in 2016. Raimona NP has further added 422 sq km of Protected Area.
Pramod Boro, Chief Executive Member (CEM) of Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), while interacting with media appreciated the efforts of IFAW-WTI and other NGOs for their contribution to Raimona National Park after formally receiving the Gazette notification from Parimal Suklabaidya, Environment and Forests Minister of Assam at a recently held ceremony at the park.
Raimona National Park has high biodiversity with as many as eleven different forest types and subtypes. The sal (Shorea robusta) bearing forest was brought under systematic scientific management during 1875-76. The area has a good population for ‘Golden Langur’ (Trachypithecus geei), the pride of Bodoland. Elephant, Tiger, Clouded Leopard, Wild Buffalo, and more than 150 species of butterflies, 170 species of birds, and 380 species of plants were recorded in the area.
IFAW-WTI’s Mobile Veterinary Service and Wildlife Transit Home is based next to Raimona National Park, and over the past decade has contributed significantly to the conservation action in this landscape with the internationally acclaimed clouded leopard rehabilitation.
This is a big stride towards achieving IFAW-WTI’s vision of Greater Manas that was conceptualized more than a decade ago.