Today marks the 50th anniversary of Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Strategically located in the Indian state of Assam; KNP provides an ideal habitat for a wide variety of wildlife species. Shares its boundary with the southern bank of the Brahmaputra River at the foot of the Mikir – Karbi Anglang Hills about 8 km from Bokakhat and 220 km east of Guwahati, Kaziranga is the well known national park among the wildlife enthusiasts.
As of now many of these are endangered species, and are found limited to small areas within the state, most notably Kaziranga National Park.
The area was declared a Forest Reserve in 1905, and Kaziranga was designated as a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1950, following the nation's independence. However, there was no forest law in place at the time, therefore animal preservation was complicated. In 1968, the Government of Assam enacted the Assam National Parks Act. However, the Wildlife Protection Act was eventually enforced countrywide in 1972.
The good news followed on February 11, 1974. The central government designated Kaziranga as a National Park because of its exceptional and diverse biodiversity.
Kaziranga National Park has been fifty years old since that auspicious day, having been through a colorful chapter filled with both opportunities and challenges.
UNESCO designated Kaziranga National Park as a World Heritage Site in 1985 due to its unique natural environment, habitat for wildlife, and one-horned rhinoceros.
Kaziranga's range has grown from 425 square kilometres to 1,300 square kilometres in 50 years, with 10 additions.
Over the last hundred years Kaziranga National Park has become the habitat for many jeopardized species: the KNP is an abode to about sixty percent of the world population of Indian one-horned Rhinoceros, about fifty per cent of the endangered Asiatic wild water buffalo, eastern swamp deer of about 400 animals, a report claimed.
In contrast, Kaziranga, which had fewer than 20 rhinos in 1905, had expanded to up to 400 (approximately) by the 1966 census, said the park director Sonali Ghosh.
“Despite multiple cases of poaching and injuries to forest personnel, the Kaziranga National Park now has around 3,000 rhinos. This demonstrates that rhino conservation efforts have been successful. The department and the public have worked together to make this a success. We will congratulate the frontline and forest authorities for their 25 years of dedication to the park's conservation,” added Ghosh before the media.