GUWAHATI, Nov 24 – Notwithstanding the devastation caused by two successive waves of floods in the Kaziranga National Park (KNP) this year, experts believe that the population trend of the eastern swamp deer is still stable.This was revealed during a daylong monitoring exercise conducted at the KNP on Wednesday by the Assam Forest Department with the support of Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC).
“We counted 864 swamp deer on a single day, which is an encouraging figure – especially after a series of big floods had hit the park. This was a monitoring exercise through which we tried to find out its presence and its area of occupancy,” NK Vasu, Director, KNP, said.
The swamp deer population tends to get scattered after the floods, and once they consolidate before the start of the mating season in April, there will be an official estimation, he added.
This is the third estimation within a span of two years in which the WTI is supporting the national park authorities. In April 2011, the park recorded 1,168 eastern swamp deer while the last estimation in January 2012 yielded a figure of 1,108 deer.
“Regular monitoring of the population trend of the eastern swamp deer in pre- and post- breeding season is very crucial to know the ecology of the species. The current exercise will be followed up with another in March-April next year. With this exercise, we shall also know their dispersal areas after the big flood,” Dr Rathin Barman, senior adviser, WTI, said.
The estimation was conducted in all the ranges – Kohora, Bagori, Agaratoli and Burhapahar besides on the north bank.
A number of people, including a group of trained Forest officials, representatives of NGOs, local villagers and media representatives took part in the exercise along with 14 elephants.
The ONGC provided financial assistance to help conserve the rare species in collaboration with the WTI and the Assam Forest Department.