GUWAHATI, April 9 – Decades after it was established, the Assam State Zoo-cum-Botanical Garden will have its first comprehensive documentation of its rich floral wealth. The recently completed endeavour would be published in two books, one of which on medicinal plants is in the press.
Zoo DFO Narayan Mahanta told The Assam Tribune that the documentation will highlight lesser known facets of the zoo, which are very important from the point of view of biodiversity.
Mahanta said that the documentation owes a lot to botanist Nagen Chandra Das, who took great pains to make the compilation.
The effort yielded more than 630 species of plants in the huge zoo campus that encompasses flat land, hilly terrain and water bodies. Surprisingly, even though surrounded by human settlements there exists some extremely delicate plant life.
The survey yielded 145 medicinal plants and several species of plants which are threatened.
When contacted, Nagen Chandra Das revealed that the documentation would help students and researchers who came to the zoo to know about the various trees and orchids. He said that there were around 30 species of orchids in the zoo, an amazing fact not known to many.
The zoo also contains a wide variety of bamboo for which the Northeast is well known. According to the botanist, there are 18 species of the plant inside the campus.
Even though the zoo is not as old as some other zoos of India, it still contains some very old tress like Tarakshopa. Some could be as old as hundred years in age. The large plants support a wide variety of bird life, and also act as lungs to the polluted city.
On the wide diversity of plant life in the zoo, Das said that the variety was due to the climatic and soil conditions, and also because of the protection that has been given over the period.