The best approach to return Assam’s Raimona National Park, the newest of the state’s seven national parks, back its former renown as the finest managed forest in the nation is to develop a planned conservation management strategy and implement it consistently.
Hunting by former maharajas followed by widespread poaching during the insurgency in the area in the last two decades of the previous century had caused immense ecological damage, but efforts have been started to put it on the path of recovery with the notification of the park in June 2021, according to officials. The area had been devastated for its rich forest produce, particularly timber, during the colonial era.
A part of the 2010 Indo-Bhutan Transboundary Manas Conservation Area (TraMCA), the 422-square-kilometer park in Kokrajhar district of the Bodoland Territorial Region forms a transboundary contiguous forest patch with the Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary and Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park in Bhutan.
According to divisional forest officer (Kachugaon Division) Bhanu Singha, the park includes a sizable portion of the former Ripu reserve forest, which was notified in 1893 and acts as a buffer to both Manas National Park in Assam and Buxa Tiger Reserve in West Bengal. At the time, it was thought to be the nation’s most scientifically managed forest area.
According to him, the Sal tree (Shorea robusta) covered the largest area of the forest in South East Asia, and tram lines were set up inside the forest in 1901 to transport the tree logs, which were mostly used to construct railway sleepers.
According to a representative of the Bodoland Territorial Council, some of the tram lines are still there in the forest while others have been destroyed, and it is planned to preserve these on exhibit in a museum that will be built nearby in the future for tourists.
The Coochbehar monarchs also made use of the area as a favoured hunting place, and in his journal “Thirty-
Sanatan Deka, project head for Wildlife Trust of India’s Greater Manas Recovery Project, told PTI that the large-scale degradation of the woods over the past century was caused by human greed rather than a need.
The one-horned rhinoceros formerly had a sizable population in the area, but it was totally wiped out during the insurgency years. However, Deka said they can be reintroduced and a success story can be written if “proper security measures are provided.”
The restoration of the park, famous for its herds of elephants that traverse the borders of the Greater Manas landscape, is also essential for reducing human-elephant conflict, he continued.
According to Singha, awareness campaigns are periodically held among residents of the nearby villages to help them appreciate the value the park may bring to their socioeconomic progress.
For the establishment of an eco-tourism project outside the park region, forest land has been donated, and it is primarily run by local teenagers, according to Singha.
The project’s member Tunu Basumatary stated, “We have set up modest tents for tourists with all contemporary amenities along with serving local food, but our focus is on keeping ecological balance of the area and ensuring that the biodiversity of the park is not endangered in any manner.
The BTR official noted that although the conclusion of the war and the establishment of the BTR have greatly increased the potential for tourism, it must be done in a continuous and responsible manner.
Along with 230 species of birds and more than 200 species of butterflies, the park has four administrative ranges: Eastern, Central, Sanfan, and Aathiyabari. It is home to 29 species of mammals, including the Golden Langur, which is unique to this part of the country, a tiger, a leopard, a clouded leopard, a wild dog, spotted deer, sambar deer, and barking deer.
Source- Travel biz