Mainland Serow Recorded For The First Time In Raimona National Park

The threatened species was caught on camera near the Ganda Bajrum anti-poaching camp in the western range of Raimona National Park
Mainland serow discovered in Raimona National Park, Assam
The mainland serow is classified as a vulnerable species by the IUCNDanny Ye/Shutterstock

The first photographic evidence of the mainland serow, a vulnerable mammal species recognised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), has been documented in Assam’s Raimona National Park by forest officials and conservationists.

The photographic evidence was captured twice by forest department personnel and members of the biodiversity group Aaranyak using digital camera traps near the Ganda Bajrum anti-poaching camp in the western range of Raimona National Park.

The mainland serow captured by a digital camera trap in Raimona National Park
The mainland serow captured by a digital camera trap in Raimona National ParkCopyright: BTC government, BTC Foret Department and Aaranyak

“The discovery of the mainland serow in Raimona National Park is good news for biodiversity conservation, and we are thrilled by the finding,” said Bhanu Sinha, a divisional forest officer of the Kachugaon Forest Division. The forest department’s goal is to conserve this species and other wildlife extensively found in the national park, they added.

The mainland serow population is widely distributed in the neighbouring Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary and the Royal Manas National Park of Bhutan, which may contribute to its population recovery in Raimona National Park.

Royal Manas National Park lies across Bhutan and India
Royal Manas National Park lies across Bhutan and IndiaDeepjyoti Kalita/Shutterstock

The findings have been published as a scientific paper in the “Journal of Threatened Taxa.”

“There is a wealth of wildlife in Raimona National Park, and the discovery of this species is good news for the conservation world,” said M. Firoz Ahmed, a senior scientist at Aaranyak.

The mainland serow (Capricornis sumatraensis thar) is found across various habitats extending from the Himalayas on the Indian subcontinent to southern China, mainland Southeast Asia and Sumatra, Ahmed said.

The species’ populations are fragmented, isolated and rapidly declining due to poaching, habitat destruction and habitat loss, according to senior conservationist Dipankar Lahkar. The lack of reliable data on this species’ abundance and distribution makes it difficult to implement effective conservation actions to ensure long-term survival, they added.

Occasional poaching for bush meat and habitat alteration due to logging during ethnopolitical violence are the primary conservation concerns of Raimona National Park.

“With the government now protecting the park, future conservation efforts should focus on securing and recovering the species’ population and restoring the degraded habitats,” Lahkar added.

The Assam government declared Raimona a national park on June 5, 2021. The park is spread across the Gossaigaon and Kokrajhar subdivisions of Kokrajhar district of the Bodoland Territorial Region. It is part of a contiguous forest patch with an area of 422 square kilometres covering the northern part of the notified Ripu Reserve Forest. It is home to a variety of wildlife including tigers, clouded leopards, golden langurs, Indian gaur, Asian elephants, spotted deer, wild buffaloes and hornbills.

(With inputs from multiple sources)

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