Assam to have seven National Parks now, most after Madhya Pradesh

Assam to have seven National Parks now, most after Madhya Pradesh

With the notification of two more National Parks in Assam on Wednesday, the north-eastern state now has seven such parks, the second most after Madhya Pradesh, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which have nine each, state Environment and Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya said.

He said that Raimona and Dihing Patkai National Parks have been formally notified on Wednesday, taking Assam's total tally of National Parks to seven.

"Assam has become the second state in the country to have the highest number of National Parks after Madhya Pradesh and Andaman and Nicobar. The newly created National Parks would help to boost conservation efforts and provide fillip to tourism and agriculture sectors," he told the media at the 'Aranya Bhawan', headquarters of the Environment and Forest Department.

The 234.26 square km Dihing Patkai National Park spans eastern Assam's Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts, while the 422 square km Raimona National Park is located in western Assam's Kokrajhar district, along West Bengal and Bhutan.

The existing five National Parks in Assam are Kaziranga, Manas, Nameri, Orang and Dibru-Saikhowa. Kaziranga and Manas are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. They are also tiger reserves, along with Nameri and Orang.

The Minister also said that the forest village areas diverted under the Forest Conservation Act has been excluded. Short stretches of the Dirak and Buri Dihing rivers have been included in the Dihing Patkai National Park.

Dihing Patkai came to limelight a year ago for illegal coal mining in the surrounding areas.

Additional anti-poaching camps and manpower are being deployed for strengthening the security and patrolling besides conservation of the new National Park.

The Raimona National Park in Kokrajhar district has a variety of wildlife including golden langur, Asian elephant, tiger, clouded leopard, Indian gaur, wild buffalo, spotted deer, hornbill, more than 150 species of butterflies, 170 species of birds, 380 species of plants and many species of orchids.

A forest official said: "Raimona has close proximity of the forested areas of Phipsoo Wildlife Sanctuary and Jigme Singye Wangchuk National Park in Bhutan (total area of 1,999 sq. km) creating a trans-boundary conservation landscape of more than 2,400 square km."

"Such protected trans-boundary ecological settings would ensure the long-standing conservation of wild and endangered species like the golden langur, (mascot of Bodoland Territorial Council) and Asian elephant, the Bengal tiger and a diverse flora and fauna," the official said.

Raimona is also a vital part of the 2,837 square km Manas Biosphere Reserve and the Chirang-Ripu Elephant Reserve.

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