Assam: A New Set of Mammal Species Discovered in Kaziranga National Park

Elusive Binturong and Small-Clawed Otter Identified, Increasing Mammal Species Count
Assam: A New Set of Mammal Species Discovered in Kaziranga National Park

ASSAM: The Kaziranga National Park and The Tiger Reserve (KTR) in Assam, India welcomed two previously unknown mammal species to its diverse ecosystem , wildlife enthusiasts were pleased to confirm the presence of the binturong (Arctictis binturong) and small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinereus). The discovery had further attributed to the diligent efforts made by the local communities and wildlife officials, brings in the total number of mammals in Northeast India’s largest national park to 37 species. Known as the bearcat, the Bintudong is a nocturnal and arboreal creature that lives in Southeast Asia.

This introduction of the creature is particularly noteworthy, as its occurrence in the north-eastern region of India is rare. Classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the bintudong faces constant threats of habitat loss and on the population decline. Recently on January 2024, a tour guide and photographer Chirantanu Saikia captured the elusive Bindurong on a tree during a jeep safari in the Kaziranga Burapahar area range which is initially it was being mistaken as with another new species.

Later on the experts built it confirmed that the photographs that existed in the field which shed light and importance on these species. In the same way the short-clawed otter, which is recognized as one of the smallest otter in the world, were also recorded in Kaziranga. Often mistaken for other otter species in the region, another short-clawed otter was noticed by Arun Vignesh, The Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of East Assam Wildlife for being distinctive. The uniqueness of it's claw and structure with physical characteristics others set it apart from its counterparts.

This resulted findings emphasized on the importance of ongoing wildlife conservation and research efforts. The officials are extremely hopeful that further research could reveal new off-license species within Kaziranga, highlighting the importance of the parks being regarded as a biological hotspots. The new arrival of these species does not only enriches the ecological fabric of Kaziranga but it has also highlighted the need for collective action to protect their habitat and ensure their longevity.

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