KAZIRANGA: Wildlife lovers have reasons to feel elated as an intriguing discovery has been made in the lush wilderness of Assam's Kaziranga National Park, a sanctuary renowned for its one-horned rhinoceros and diverse ecosystem.
Two new mammalian species have been sighted in the periphery of this wildlife paradise, thereby propelling the total count of mammalian species to 37.
During an enumeration survey of water birds, the recent discoveries of the binturong, also known as the bearcat (Arctictis binturong), and the small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinereus) were made.
Notably, the binturong is the largest civet in India and it happens to be a nocturnal and arboreal creature. It has remained in the shadows because of its secretive nature and preference for the treetops.
During the fifth migratory bird count in Kaziranga, tour guide Chirantanu Saikia initially spotted the mammalian species and immediately captured it in his camera.
This species is listed under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, of 1972, thereby underlining its significance and the need for conservation efforts.
The small-clawed otter, the world's smallest otter species, was sighted after a training program was organized by the Wildlife Institute of India in collaboration with the Assam Forest Department for officers and front-line staff.
The features of the small-clawed otter include partially webbed feet and short claws and they are characterized by their adept hunting skills in aquatic environments. These otters prey on fish, crustaceans, and mollusks and are highly social animals, living in family groups and communicating through various vocalizations.
These startling discoveries is an addition to the rich tapestry of life in Kaziranga and also emphasizes the park's pivotal role as a lifeline for endangered species.
Kaziranga spans across parts of Golaghat, Nagaon, and Sonitpur districts and is a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for its Great Indian one-horned rhinoceros.
Its landscape is characterized by dense forests, tall elephant grass, rugged reeds, marshes, and shallow pools, providing a perfect habitat for its inhabitants.