In the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve, the population of the vulnerable eastern swamp deer, which is extinct everywhere in South Asia, has declined.
Officials blamed two significant floods in 2019 and 2020 for the drop from 907 individuals in 2018 to 868 during the Eastern Swamp Deer Estimation on January 10 and 11. On the plus side, they claimed the rhinos are now being dispersed outside of the park, which is renowned as the world’s finest location for one-horned rhinoceros.
“The eastern swamp deer is endemic to Kaziranga National Park and is not the principal prey of the park’s predators, which include the tiger.” However, its population is critical for the tiger reserve’s ecological health, and the animal has already gone to other locations like Orang National Park and the Laokhowa-Burachapori wildlife sanctuaries, “Kaziranga field director P. Sivakumar said.
The eastern swamp deer used to be concentrated in Kaziranga’s middle Kohora and Bagori regions. In 2011, the animal had a population of 1,161 – the highest ever – while the lowest was 213 in 1966.
In the most recent study, female eastern swamp deer outnumbered males by more than three times. In comparison to 173 males, the female of the species recorded 557 individuals. A total of 138 yearlings were counted.
According to Mr. Sivakumar, the hog deer, which number between 35,000 and 40,000, is the principal prey of the Kaziranga predators, followed by the barking deer, sambhar, water buffaloes, and rhinos.
During the fourth Wetland Bird Estimation, which took place from December 21 to 27, the number of waterfowl species in the 1,302 sq km Kaziranga increased from 112 a year ago to 126.
The enumerators discovered a total of 66,776 birds from 126 different species using the point count technique.
The birds were tallied at 211 different locations in 157 waterbodies by 35 enumeration teams, which included volunteers from local educational institutions, NGOs, and Forest Department officials and frontline workers.
“With 16,552 birds, the bar-headed goose topped the list, followed by the northern pintail (9,493) and the common teal (5,631).” Mr. Sivakumar said, “The ferruginous duck, an important species with a count of 2,236, may be considered a highlight of this assessment.”
Source: The Hindu