The Environment and Forest Minister of Assam, Parimal Suklabaidya announced that Dehing-Patkai has been declared as the seventh national park of Assam. The notification regarding the same was declared on June 9, 2021.
Assam got its 7th National Park within two weeks, after Raimona National Park in the Bodoland Territorial Region was notified as the sixth national park on World Environment Day on June 5, 2021.
Raimona and Dihing Patkai National Parks have been formally notified, adding to Assam’s total tally of NPs to 7. Assam has become the second state in the country to have the highest number of NPs. pic.twitter.com/F7NJNGpAGQ
— Parimal Suklabaidya (@ParimalSuklaba1)
June 9, 2021
With the latest development, Assam has now the second-highest number of National Parks in the country as the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Madhya Pradesh have nine National Parks each.
What is the significance?
Parimal Suklabaidya while making the announcement regarding the latest National Park stated that the newly created National parks in Assam will help in boosting the conservation efforts and will also provide a fillip to tourism and agricultural sectors.
Dehing Patkai: National Park in Assam
The newest National park in Assam also popularly known as Dehing Patkai Rain Forest, has unique faunal and floral diversity. It was recognized by the state government in 2004 when 111.19 sq km of the area was notified as Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary.
As per the Environment and Forest Minister, the forest and wildlife conservation have now been further strengthened as another 123.07 sq km has been added to the original sanctuary area.
The National Park in Assam comprises the pristine forests along the Assam-Arunachal interstate boundary which is classified as the Assam Valley Tropical Wet Evergreen Forest.
Species found in Dehing Patkai:
The area is home to elephant, hoolock gibbon, tiger, slow loris, leopard, golden cat, clouded leopard, fishing cat, sambar, marble cat, sloth bear, hog dear, and several bird species, including the endangered state bird, the White Winged Wood Duck.
To date, 47 reptile species, 47 mammal species, and 310 butterfly species have been recorded in the area.
• The notified National park in Assam includes areas falling within the existing Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary along with Jeypore Reserve Forest and Upper Dehing Reserve Forest (West Block).
• The village area, however, has been excluded from it.
• For the conservation and intensive patrolling of the new area, additional manpower and anti-poaching camps are also being provided by the Assam Government.
Upgradation of Dehing Patkai as a National Park: Background
The former Chief Minister of Assam Sarbanada Sonowal had directed the forest department of the state in July 2020 to upgrade Dehing Patkai to a National Park after the protests against the coal mining inside the sanctuary.
The village settlements, tea gardens, oil and coal exploration, deforestation had irreversibly destroyed the previously contiguous rainforests and most of the surviving patches that existed in isolation with each other, therefore progressively and slowly losing the extraordinary characteristics that define a rainforest.