The Namdapha National Park (2,59,082 ha) and Kamlang Wildlife Sanctuary (1,80,782 ha) and Kamlang Reserve Forest (78,300 ha) are situated at the southeastern tip of Arunachal Pradesh and bounded by the international boundary with Myanmar to the south and east. Namdapha lies in Changlang district, and Kamlang in Lohit. The Namdapha was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1972 and declared as a tiger reserve in March 1983 followed by a notification as a national park on 9 June 1983. Namdapha has been proposed as a biosphere reserve also. A part of Kamlang RF was declared as a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1989. Namdapha comprises the catchment of the Noa-Dihing river, a tributary of the River Brahmaputra. The Noa-Dihing originates in the mountains on the India-Myanmar border and flows westwards through the Park before joining the Brahmaputra river in the Assam Valley. The Kamlang is drained by rivers which are tributaries of the Lohit river. The entire area is mountainous. Lakes, locally known as 'beels', are scattered throughout the area and attract migratory waterfowl. Also in abundance are salt licks or 'poongs', of which Bulbulia is famed for its congregations of Asian Elephants and other large mammals. Details of the geology and topography are given by Ghosh (1987). The largest lake is Glao in Kamlang WLS. This 50 ha wetland is a major haunt of waterfowl (Choudhury 2002). The Dapha bum (bum = peak or ridge), the highest point in this IBA, separates Namdapha from Kamlang. This IBA is great continuous stretch of virgin forest and harbours perhaps the most diverse assemblage of species in India. Due to great altitudinal variation, diverse habitat occurs in the area, from tropical Wet Evergreen in the lower areas to subtropical and temperate forests in the higher mountains. In the Dapha Bum area, it is subalpine and alpine scrub. The geography of the area is dominated by the Dapha bum and the river valleys of the Noa-Dihing and its tributary, the Namdapha. The terrain is rugged with hardly any flat area outside the flood plains of the two rivers (Athreya et al. 1997). Namdapha TR does not have any resident human population within its boundaries. However, there are two small hamlets inside Kamlang WS. The dominant tribes around Namdapha are the Singphones, Tangsas, Lisus and Chakmas while around Kamlang there are Miju Mishmis. The climate is tropical and subtropical, with a distinct cold season from December to February. Temperature varies from 5 °C to 35 °C at lower altitudes and drops to below freezing point at higher altitudes. July and August are the warmest months. Mean annual precipitation varies from 2,500 mm to 3,500 mm, 75% of which falls between April and October, during the southwest monsoon. The rest is received from the northeast monsoon from December to March (Chatterjee and Chandiramani 1986). According to Forest Department sources, the total annual precipitation is 6,300 mm (Ghosh 1987). It rains for almost 8 months a year, with only November as a really ‘dry’ month.
AVIFAUNA: Namdapha-Kamlang is one of the most biologically diverse IBAs in India. Its avifauna is a unique blend of four biomes (Sino-Himalayan Temperate, Sino-Himalayan Subtropical, Indo-Chinese Tropical Moist Forests and Eurasian High Montane). About 450 bird species have been reported from Namdapha Tiger Reserve, including several globally threatened and Restricted Range species (Katti et al. 1992, Athreya et al. 1997, Singh 1999).
The Endangered White-bellied Heron Ardea insignis is regularly seen in Deban and Noa-Dihing river (300-450 m). Solitary individuals have been sighted by Alstrom et al. (1994), Athreya et al. (1997) and Choudhury (2000).
The White-winged Duck Cairina scutulata has been reported from the lower reaches of Namdapha (Choudhury 1996). It has been seen at Ranijheel, Motijheel and Rajajheel (Choudhury 2002).
Stattersfield et al. (1998) have identified 21 Restricted Range species from the Eastern Himalaya. Till now, 11 of these species have been seen in Namdapha.
The Northeast is famous for its bird diversity and Namdapha-Kamlang IBA is one of the finest examples. Its thick forests contain 98 members of Family Muscicapidae (babblers, flycatchers, warblers and thrushes) (Athreya et al. 1997). Indeed, almost half the birds seen in Namdapha belonged to this family. Mixed hunting parties containing several hundred birds of over 20 species have been reported (Athreya et al. 1997).
In the Eastern Himalaya, particular bird species tend to be present at lower altitude than in the Western Himalaya. Namdapha is one of the easternmost regions of India and the bird sightings by Athreya et al. (1997) further confirm this trend. Over 10% of the birds recorded by them were at lower altitude or even below the lowest altitude record of the species in India.
Many northeastern birds, uncommon or rarely seen elsewhere, are fairly common in Namdapha. For example, Grey Peacock Pheasant Polyplectron bicalcaratum, Wreathed Hornbill Aceros undulatus, Blue-naped Pitta Pitta nipalensis, Collared Treepie Dendrocitta frontalis, Large Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus hypoleucos, Streaked Wren-Babbler Napothera brevicaudata, Eye-browed Wren-Babbler Napothera epilepidota, Rufous-vented Laughingthrush Garrulax gularis, White-hooded Babbler Gampsorhynchus rufulus, Rufous-throated Fulvetta Alcippe rufogularis, Rufous-backed Sibia Heterophasia annectans, Beautiful Sibia Heterophasia pulchella, Green Cochoa Cochoa viridis and Black-breasted Thrush Turdus dissimilis are fairly widespread in the Park, but not necessarily easy to locate (Kazmierczak and Singh 1998).
OTHER KEY FAUNA: Namdapha is famous for its felines - it harbours three large, two medium and many smaller cats. Tiger Panthera tigris and Leopard P. pardus are found at lower and mid elevation, while above 3,000 m, the Snow Leopard Uncia uncia is reported (unconfirmed). The rare Clouded Leopard Neofelis nebulosa is also found. Singh et al. (undated) have recorded 96 species of mammals. There are not many IBAs in India where so many mammals species are seen. Athreya et al. (1997) found six species of non-human primates, excluding Slow Loris Nycticebus coucang reported.
Recently, Captain (2000) reported 117 species snakes and three legless lizards within a 2½ month survey in Namdapha. Two of the snakes (Trimeresurus medoensus and Amphiesma venningi) are first records from India.
Key contributors: Ramana M. Athreya, Kulojyoti Lakhar, Anwaruddin Choudhury, Ashok S. Captain and Manju Menon.
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Namdapha - Kamlang. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 06/02/2023.