Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary

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Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, renowned for its population of one-horned rhinoceros, welcomed tourists once again as it officially reopened recently.

About Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary

  • Location: It is located on the southern bank of the river Brahmaputra in Morigaon district, adjacent to Guwahati in Assam.
  • It was declared a reserve forest in 1971 and a wildlife sanctuary in 1987.
  • It is home to the highest population density of the Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros species (around 102 rhinos in an area of 38.8 sq. km).
  • Landscape: It is dominated by alluvial lowlands and marshland.
  • The Brahmaputra River offers a natural boundary to the premises of the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary on the north, while the Garanga Beel offers a natural boundary to its south.
  • Flora:
    • 72% of Pabitora consists of wet savannah of Arundo donax, Erianthus ravennae, Phragmites karka, Imperata cylindrica, and Saccharum spp.
    • Water hyacinth (Eichornia crassipes) is a major problem, especially to waterfowl, as it forms thick mats on the water surface.
  • Fauna:
    • Besides rhinoceros, the other animals are leopard, wild boar, Barking deer, wild buffalo, etc.
    • It is also home to more than 375 species of resident and migratory birds, such as the Indian pied Hornbill, Osprey, Hill Myna, Kalij Pheasant, etc.

Key Facts about Indian One Horned Rhinoceros

  • The greater one-horned rhino (or “Indian rhino”) is the largest of the rhino species.
  • Scientific Name: Rhinoceros unicornis
  • Distribution:
    • It can be found in India and Nepal, particularly in the foothills of the Himalayas, in riverine (floodplain) grasslands, and adjacent woodland.
    • Assam’s Kaziranga National Park (KNP) has the largest population with 2,613 animals.
  • Features:
    • It is identified by a single black horn about 8-25 inches long and a grey-brown hide with skin folds, which gives it an armor-plated appearance.
    • It weighs approximately 2,200 kg, ranges in height from 170 to 186 cm, and is 368 to 380 cm long. 
    • The species is solitary, except when adult males or rhinos nearing adulthood gather at wallows or to graze.
    • They primarily graze, with a diet consisting almost entirely of grasses as well as leaves.
  • Conservation Status:
    • IUCN Red List: Vulnerable
    • CITES: Appendix I
    • Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule I

Q1) What is Water hyacinth?

Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) is a large aquatic plant native to the Amazon basin. Its thick, waxy, oval-shaped leaves are 4-8 inches across and branch out from the center of the plant on modified stems that may rise as much as 1 meter above the water surface. Water hyacinth is one of the most noxious weeds in tropical and subtropical regions.

Source: Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary reopens for tourist