The Namdapha National Park and Tiger Reserve, which was in the limelight for an attack on former Chief Wildlife Warden J.L. Singh on March 12 last year, is under the constant vigil of a protection force that is diligently seeking to prevent all illegal activity.
PCCF (wildlife and biodiversity) N N Zhasa, who visited the NNP and TR during February 27-28 last, told ANI today that the situation has changed, as 35-member forest protection squad and 13 ex-servicemen, all locals representing various communities of the state, are constantly patrolling in the park under the supervision of regular frontline staffers.
"I visited the core area along with NNP and TR field director S.J.Jongsam, and found to my satisfaction, that the situation has completely changed and the rich flora and fauna of the sanctuary is protected," he said.
"The park is very secured and safe now. Though some Lisu families are living in the core area but we have taken them into confidence and few of them are engaged as member of the squad which brought a turnaround in the protection effort", Jongsam added.
Jongsam, who has been field director for the last three years, has brought attitudinal change in the minds of the locals because of his commitment to the cause of the flora and fauna.
"It is a welcome step with uniformed personnel patrolling in the park whom I saw while undergoing training," Miao MLA and Food and Civil Supplies Minister Kamlung Mossang said, adding considering the vast and difficult terrain of the park much larger protection squad is required for its protection.
Contrary to misgivings created by some sections, the presence of four tigers was confirmed during the 2011 tiger census conducted by Aranyak.
But field staffers who spot tigers during patrolling from time to time assume that the number could be much higher.
It may be mentioned here that the NNP and TR was recommended by Zhasa when he was Conservator of Forests in 2005 and he asked UNESCO to nominate it as a World Heritage Biodiversity Site.
Spread over 1985 square kilometers, with 177 square kilometers designated as the buffer zone and 1,808 square kilometers as the core area, Namdapha National Park is the largest protected area in the Eastern Himalaya biodiversity hotspot located in Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh bordering Myanmar.
The park is located between the Dapha Bum Range of the Mishmi Hills and the Patkai Range with a wide altitudinal range between 200 and 4571 m above msl.
Because of many different vegetation zones, the park is home to a great diversity of mammal species. Four big cat species occur in the park: snow leopard, clouded leopard, common leopard and tigers.
Other large predators are dholes, wolves, and Asiatic black bears. Smaller carnivores include red panda, red fox, yellow-throated marten, Eurasian otter, Oriental small-clawed otter, spotted linsang, binturong, common palm civet, small Indian civet, large Indian civet, masked palm civet, marbled cat, fishing cat, Asiatic golden cat, and two species of mongoose. Large herbivores are represented by elephants, wild boar, forest musk deer, Indian Muntjack, hog deer, Sambar, Gaur, Common Goral, mainland serow, Takin, and Bharal. Seven species of non-human primates including stump-tailed macaque and Slow Loris, Hoolok Gibbons, Carped Langurs, Assamese Macaques and Rhesus Macaques.
The park has about 425 bird species with many more to be recorded from work in the higher areas. There are five species of Hornbills, the state bird, recorded from the area. Several species of rare Wren-babbles have been recorded in Namdapha. Other bird groups include Laughing Thrushes, Parrotbills, Fulvettas, Shrike Babbles, and Scimitar. The Snowthraited Babbler is a rare species of Babler found only in the Patkai and Mishmi hills and nearby areas in northern Myanmar, is found in Namdapha.
Other rare, restricted range or globally endangered species include the Rufous-necked Hornbill, Green Cochoa, Purple Cochoa, Beautiful Nuthatch, Ward's Trogon, Ruddy Kingfisher, Blue-eared Kingfisher, White-tailed Fish Eagle, Eurasian Hobby, Pied Falconet, White-winged Wood Duck, Himalayan Wood-wool, Rufous-throated Hill-patridge and While Cheeked Hill Patridge. Several leaf warblers and migrants such as Amur Falcon and several Thrushes can be seen here.
The first mid-winter waterfowl census in Namdapha was conducted in 1994 when species such as the White-bellied Heron, a critically endangered bird was recorded for the first time. By Pradeep Kumar (ANI)