New Mammalian Species Join Kaziranga National Park Fauna

  • 26 Jan 2024

Recently, Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve in Assam, the primary habitat of the one-horned rhinoceros, welcomed two new mammalian species – the elusive binturong, also known as the bearcat, and the small-clawed otter, adding to the rich biodiversity of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Key Points

  • New Additions to Fauna: The recent enumeration in Kaziranga reveals the presence of two new mammalian species – the binturong and the small-clawed otter, bringing the total mammalian count in the tiger reserve to 37.
  • Schedule I of Wildlife Protection Act: Both the binturong and the small-clawed otter are listed under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, signifying their protected status.
  • Big Five Dominance: Kaziranga's mammalian diversity includes the iconic Big Five – the great Indian one-horned rhinoceros, Indian elephant, Bengal tiger, wild water buffalo, and the eastern swamp deer.
  • Binturong's Elusiveness: The binturong, the largest civet in India, is an arboreal mammal with nocturnal habits. Its distribution is exclusive to the northeast in India, making it a rare find. Photographed during the fifth migratory bird count, it adds to the park's unique wildlife.
  • Small-Clawed Otter Discovery: Discovered after a training program, the small-clawed otter is the world's smallest otter species. Found in freshwater habitats across India, it is a skilled aquatic hunter with a diet comprising fish, crustaceans, and mollusks.
  • Distribution Range: The Asian small-clawed otter's distribution extends through India, reaching Southeast Asia and southern China. It is predominantly found in protected areas of various Indian states.
  • Skilled Aquatic Hunter: The small-clawed otter's partially webbed feet with short claws make it adept at hunting in aquatic environments, emphasizing its role as a crucial member of freshwater ecosystems.
  • Biodiversity in Kaziranga: Other mammals in Kaziranga include the Indian wild boar, Indian gaur, sambar, hoolock gibbon, Gangetic dolphin, capped langur, sloth bear, leopard, and jackal, contributing to the park's diverse and unique ecosystem.