Kaziranga National Park Adds Two New Mammal Species

The national park officials recorded these two species during a recent enumeration, bringing the total mammalian count to 37

Travellers can now see two new mammalian species, recently identified in Assam's Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve, the primary habitat of the one-horned rhinoceros on Earth. The species include the binturong (Arctictis binturong), the bearcat, and the small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinerea), both classified under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.

Officials of the rhino habitat reportedly discovered these two species during a recent enumeration, bringing the total mammalian count in the tiger reserve to 37.

About The Animal

The binturong, an arboreal mammal native to South and Southeast Asia, proves challenging to locate due to its nocturnal and arboreal habits. It exhibits an uncommon presence across much of its range, with its distribution exclusive to northeast India. Its photograph was taken on January 10 during the fifth migratory bird count in the tiger reserve. The small-clawed otter was sighted following a brief training program for the officers and frontline staff as part of a collaboration between the Wildlife Institute of India and the Assam Forest Department. 

In India, its presence is mainly noted in the protected areas of West Bengal, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and certain parts of Kerala in the Western Ghats region.

Kaziranga National Park
Kaziranga National ParkShutterstock

Small-clawed otters possess partially webbed feet with short claws, enhancing their hunting skills in aquatic environments. They predominantly inhabit freshwater habitats, sustaining themselves on a fish, crustaceans, and molluscs diet.

Previously documented in the western Himalayas and parts of Odisha, no recent records indicate their presence in these two regions. Other mammals inhabiting Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve encompass the Indian wild boar (Sus scrofa), Indian gaur (Bos gaurus), sambar (Cervus unicolor), hoolock or white-browed gibbon (Hylobates hoolock), Gangetic dolphin (Platanista gangetica), capped langur or leaf monkey (Presbytis pileatus), sloth bear (Melursus ursinus), leopard (Panthera pardus), and the jackal (Canis aureus).

About The National Park

Kaziranga, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985, features a mammal roster led by the Big Five:

  • The great Indian one-horned rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis)

  • Indian elephant (Elephas maximus)

  • Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris)

  • Wild water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis)

  • The eastern swamp deer (Cervus duvauceli)

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