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Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Kaziranga Tiger Reserve, Assam - May 2009

Our travel plans to Arunachal Pradesh took us to "Jorhat" in Assam. On our return journey from Arunachal Pradesh, Ranganath Badri and myself decided to spend a couple of days checking out the “Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary” and the “Kaziranga Tiger Reserve”. I am grateful to Mr. N. K. Vasu the current "Director" of the “Rain Forest Research Institute” and previously the "Field Director" of "Kaziranga Tiger Reserve" for helping us take a look at these two wonderful wildlife habitats in Assam.

"Greater One-horned Rhinoceros" at Kaziranga Tiger Reserve, Assam.

After a good nights rest at RFRI, early morning on Sunday, the 3rd of May 2009, Ranganath Badri and myself set out to explore the “Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary” in Jorhat. (If in Jorhat, do drop into "Kalpana Restaurant" for breakfast, you are sure to enjoy the feast!)

The “Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary” in the Jorhat District of Assam with an area of about 20 hectare is located on the south bank of the Brahmaputra river. As soon as we entered the area we could hear the “Gibbons” calling! A short walk into the undergrowth and we were able to see a family of three!!

This sanctuary is a primate island! In this small area of dense evergreen rain forest surrounded by tea estates thrive seven species of primates many of which are endangered. Hoolock Gibbon, Stump-tailed Macaque, Pig-tailed Macaque, Assamese Macaque, Rhesus macaque, Capped Langur and Slow Loris. How come?

Hoolock Gibbons are the representatives of “ape” in India. It is said that these Gibbons which have now been split into the “Eastern Hoolock Gibbon” and “Western Hoolock Gibbon” share 95% of their genetic material with humans!

"Hoolock Gibbon (Male)" at Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam.

"Hoolock Gibbon (Female with Juvenile)" at Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam.

"Capped Langur" at Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam.

I was very happy to see and photograph the “Western Hoolock Gibbons” swinging in the trees and the "Capped Langur" munching on leaves. May their tribe increase!

We then drove straight to the “Kaziranga Tiger Reserve” about 100 kms from Jhorat. That evening we checked into the “Forest Rest House” at Kaziranga and relaxed.

Monday, 04th May 2009. What a day. A long day from 4 am to 6 pm among the Rhinos! I am not sure why the "Tiger" takes prominence everywhere? the “Kaziranga” area is surely the abode of the “Greater One-horned Rhinoceros”! There are over 2000+ Rhinoceros in the reserve, we saw at least 50 of them on that day.

"Greater One-horned Rhinoceros" at Kaziranga Tiger Reserve, Assam.

Plenty of "Hog Deers", the closest relative of the spotted deer, in the area ->

"Hog Deer" at Kaziranga Tiger Reserve, Assam.

Called "Barasingha" due to the "Twelve-Tined" antlers of the stags, the "Swamp Deer" thrives in this area ->

"Swamp Deer" at Kaziranga Tiger Reserve, Assam.

The first thing I noticed are their large horns! ->

"Asiatic Wild Buffalo" at Kaziranga Tiger Reserve, Assam.

Fulgorid Planthopper Nymphs? at Kaziranga Tiger Reserve, Assam.

"Fulgorid Planthopper Nymphs?" At first sight it looked like some kind of white fungus. When our guard went near they started hopping! Amazing nature indeed!!

A world heritage site, the "“Kaziranga National Park" evolved into the ‘’Kaziranga Tiger Reserve” in 2007. Encompassing an area of over 1000 sq. km. the landscape consists of sprawling grasslands, water bodies and woods. The lifeline of this area is the “Brahmaputra” river and its tributaries. An ‘Important Bird Area’ with over 500 species of birds recorded, with the world’s largest population of “Greater One-horned Rhinoceros” and with the world’s largest population of the “Asiatic Wild Buffalo” this area is a must visit for any nature lover!

I thoroughly enjoyed that one special day inside the reserve…

Sunset at Kaziranga Tiger Reserve, Assam.

Vijay Cavale
May 2009