Year of compilation: 2004
AVIFAUNA: Orang is one of the most important sites for birds of wet, tall grasslands of the Indo-Gangetic plains. Almost all species of conservation concern are found in this small National Park of nearly 8,000 ha. During surveys between 1985 and 1989, Rahmani et al. (1990) estimated a population of 30-40 Bengal Floricans. This IBA site contains about 225 bird species (Talukdar and Sharma 1995), including rarities such as Baer’s Pochard Aythya baeri, Blyth’s Kingfisher Alcedo hercules and Finn’s Weaver or Yellow Weaver Ploceus megarhynchus. Orang is also one of the few protected areas where Finn’s Baya or Yellow Weaver Ploceus megarhynchus is found. The other wellknown site being Manas (IBA). It is considered as one of the three Outstanding IBAs of Assam (BirdLife International 2003). This site qualifies two criteria: it has globally threatened species (A1), and it has more than 1% of the population of the Bengal Florican (A4ii) criteria. Stattersfield et al. (1998) have listed three species in the Assam Plains Endemic Bird Area (EBA) (Manipur Bush Quail Perdicula manipurensis, Black-breasted Parrotbill Paradoxornis flavirostris and Marsh Babbler Pellorneum palustre). Looking at the extent of grasslands habitat, the last two species are likely to be present in this site.
OTHER KEY FAUNA: Orang NP was declared for the protection of the Rhinoceros. Between 50-60 rhinos are found here, despite intensive poaching pressure. A healthy population of Tiger Panthera tigris is maintained by herbivores such as Hog Deer Axis porcinus, Wild Pig Sus scrofa and a very large number of domestic animals that roam just outside the Park. This small area also has a small population of wild Asiatic Elephant Elephas maximus. Gangetic Dolphin Plantanista gangetica also occurs in the rivers. Chinese Pangolin Manis pentadactyla, Chinese Porcupine Hystrix brachyura, Small Civet Viverricula indica, Jungle Cat Felis chaus, Smooth Indian Otter Lutrogale perspicillata and Rufous-tailed Hare Lepus nigricollis ruficaudatus are some of the small mammals of the Park. The Swamp Deer Cervus duvaucelii population was exterminated by 1972, when license hunting prevailed (Talukdar and Sharma 1995). Old records also show the existence of Hispid Hare Caprolagus hispidus, but it is not found in Orang now. Pygmy Hog Sus salvanius, another highly endangered species, was introduced in 1976 rather unsuccessfully.
Reptiles are represented by the Indian Tent Turtle Kachuga tentoria, Brown Roof Turtle K. smithi, Malayan Box Turtle Cuora amboinensis, Eastern Hill Terrapin Melanochelys tricarinata, Spotted Black Terrapin Geoclemys hamiltonii, Indian Softshelled Turtle Aspideretes gangetica (Talukdar and Sharma 1995). All these are listed in the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972. A new species of frog, Kalophrynus orangensis, was described from Orang (Ahmed 2002).
Erosion by the Dhansiri river, occasional attempts by the surrounding villagers to encroach and increasing cattle population in the fringe areas are some of the key conservation issues. Charaching of rhino is a constant threat. During the early 1990s, due to good management, poaching of rhino was eliminated, but in recent years, it has gone up and now from 90 in 1996, the population is probably 50-60 heads. It is necessary to post highly motivated officers so the old glory of Orang could be brought back. Environmental awareness campaign should be started in the surrounding villages. A more detailed study on bird life, especially threatened species should be conducted.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Orang National Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 08/08/2022.