June 1, 2012

Kaziranga Swamp Deer Radio Collared

In a milestone project, Assam Forest Department and Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) is working on radio collaring rare Eastern Swamp Deers found only in Kaziranga National Park. This project is sponsored by ONGC (Oil & Natural Gas Corporation). Idea behind radio collaring them is to collect and organize their data to study their behavior and day-to-day activities. Study results will be used to making plan for their better conservation and increase their population so that later they may to shifted to nearby wildlife sanctuaries also. Swamp deer is a main prey of Kaziranga tigers so their conservation will indirectly result in better conservation of tigers also. So far no study was carried out on life of Eastern Swamp Deers.

Eastern Swamp Deer is a rare deer species now found only in a limited area of North-East India. Now they are found only in Kaziranga national park of Assam. Experts have a view that these swamp deers are more vulnerable than one-horned rhinos and tigers so their conservation efforts in a immediate need. One more species of Swamp deer is available in Kanha National Park also but is different from Kaziranga’s one. Kanha swamp deers are rare Hard-ground swamp deers which can be seen in Kanha forest only and will recently shifted to nearby national park to spread their population.

Recently 02 swamp deers (01 male & 01 female) were tranquillized and fitted with radio-collar but after a day female Swamp deer found dead in Mihumukh area of Kohora range in Kaziranga Tiger Reserve. Postmortem was carried out and veterinarian suggested haemorrhagic enteritis as cause of death which has nothing to do with radio-collaring. Second radio-collared male swamp deer is doing well. Team has planned to radio collar at least 10 swamp deer in first step.

We hope this joint operation will be successfully carried out and their results will help the authorities to do better conservation of rare swamp deers in Kaziranga so that in future they will be translocated to nearby national park like Manas national park, Nameri tiger reserve, Dibru-Saikhowa wildlife sanctuary etc. It is a good effort by Assam Forest Department and is in benefit for Assam wildlife tourism also. In coming days, few more swamp deers will be radio collared.