Assam - Just an hour’s drive from the city, Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary has a higher density of the one-horned rhinoceros


Assam - Just an hour’s drive from the city, Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary has a higher density of the one-horned rhinoceros

Tourists on elephant again at Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary Photo: Barcroft Media / Getty Images

Early this March, bored of staying at dwelling because of the coronavirus, my mom and I made a decision to benefit from our free time and go to Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, recognized for its inhabitants of the one-horned rhinoceros, or the Indian rhino. A one-hour drive from the town of Guwahati, Assam will get you to this peaceable sanctuary, generally neglected for the extra well-known Kaziranga National Park.  

The nice early-morning drive took us by sleepy hamlets, previous lush paddy fields. At Pobitora, solely a handful of automobiles had been parked exterior—not stunning on condition that Kaziranga, its extra well-known neighbour, pulls in most crowds. Kaziranga attracts extra vacationers as a result of it additionally has a large tiger inhabitants, one thing Pobitora lacks. But it makes up for this by having the very best density of the one-horned rhino on the planet.

Better odds of sighting the rhino

Mukul Tamuli, the vary officer of Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary tells us that there are 102 rhinos in Pobitora, based on the 2018 census. He goes on to  clarify that despite the fact that the full space of the sanctuary is 38.8 sq km, the precise rhino breeding space is just 16 sq km. “This means there are 102 rhinos in 16 sq km which makes the density around seven rhinos per sq km.” In distinction, Kaziranga has 2,413 rhinos over an space of 430 sq km which places the density at roughly six rhinos per sq km.

No tigers here, but plenty of rhinos. Photo: Divia Thani, Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, assam
No tigers right here, however loads of rhinos. Photo: Divia Thani

“Pobitora is made up of the Pobitora plains and Burra Mayong,” Tamuli says. “In the beginning, Pobitora was only a plain spanning 16 sq km. This is where the rhinos lived and continue to do so. The Burra Mayong, which is a hill, was added later as other animals in the sanctuary were seen to migrate there during the floods. The animals found there are mostly leopard, barking deer and sambar deer. Rhinos don’t move to Burra Mayong even when the floodwaters rise. They take refuge in the artificial highlands that we have built for them in the plains.”

Even floods don't dislodge the rhinoceros from Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary. Photo: Biju Boro / Stringer / Getty Images
Even floods don’t dislodge the rhinoceros from Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary. Photo: Biju Boro / Stringer / Getty Images

A day at Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary

If you’re trying to get a better view of the one-horned rhino, then hop onto one of many day by day jeep safaris, like we did. The forest authorities conduct early morning elephant safaris together with all-day jeep safaris. Elephant safaris begin at 6.30am and seven.30am. The hour-long safari prices Rs500 per individual. Jeep safaris are Rs1,000 an hour for the car (plus Rs300 because the car entry cross and Rs50 customer entry cross). If you’re a pictures fanatic, the jeep safari is your greatest guess. These take you proper into the guts of the jungle and nearer to the beels (wetlands) the place you will get nice close-up pictures.

Photo: Divia Thani, Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, assam
Need a vantage level? Photo: Divia Thani

Our jeep took us discomfitingly near the rhinos grazing within the grassland, though our information reassured us we had been protected. We sat in pin-drop silence whereas my mum and vacationers in one other jeep clicked footage of the seemingly light beast. At one level, two of the rhinos lifted their heads and seemed straight at us as if to say, don’t you dare come shut. Needless to say, I used to be mighty relieved once we drove off.

Pobitora can be a birdwatcher’s paradise. Over 50 species of migratory birds go to the area every year throughout winter, travelling all the way in which from northern Europe, northern Asia, North America, Africa and the Himalayas. By January, the beels are teeming with flocks of northern pintail, widespread shelduck, ruddy shelduck, widespread pochard, white-fronted goose, greylag goose, painted stork and pied avocet, to call a number of. Non-migratory birds discovered on the sanctuary embrace the rufous treepie, serpent eagle and Indian curler. My mom, an avid birder, was delighted to identify the red-collared dove, a sleek hen with a pale pink plumage and a black stripe across the neck. 

Birder's paradise! Ruddy Shelducks in the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary. Photo: Barcroft Media / Getty Images
Birder’s paradise! Ruddy Shelducks within the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary. Photo: Barcroft Media / Getty Images

The woods in Pobitora are dwelling to a number of species of civet cat just like the Asian palm civet cat, giant Indian civet cat and small Indian civet cat. Our safari information, Umesh Medhi, tells us that civet cats are elusive creatures and rarely let themselves be seen. ‘But they come out when the dimorus (a type of fig) ripen. If you happen to spot them, it’s most probably near a dimoru tree.’

Pobitora has a large inhabitants of monitor lizard, though you must look very carefully as they’re masters of camouflage and keep hidden within the brown terrain. We had been fortunate to identify two, however each promptly dived into the undergrowth. The grasslands additionally harbour wild boar. We stumbled on a bunch of sprightly little piglets frolicking on the forest ground. The Gangetic river dolphin is one other attraction, with the perfect time for dolphin-watching being November by June when boat safaris can be found. And in the event you occur to go to in the course of the months of March and April, hold a lookout for the orchids that burst to life throughout this season and paint the panorama in sensible hues of pink, purple and white—an absolute feast for the eyes. 

A quiet evening on the river. Photo: Divia Thani, Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, assam
A quiet night on the river? Photo: Divia Thani

Getting there

The advantage of Pobitora is its proximity to Guwahati, the town with the busiest airport in Assam. One of 4 pure habitats of the rhino within the state–the others being Kaziranga National Park, Manas National Park and Orang National Park–Pobitora is the closest to the town. i. It could be reached inside an hour by highway, in contrast to different parks which take at the least three to 4 hours. So, if you’re on the town on work and have only a day or much less to spare, head to Pobitora. You can go and are available again the identical day, and nonetheless be on time to catch a late-evening flight out of the town. 

You can e book a automobile by native journey brokers or use providers like Ola and Uber. You may spend the evening there in one of many non-public resorts like Maibong Eco Resort or Pobitora Village Eco Camp. These supply respectable room and board, and now have memento retailers that promote handicrafts like bamboo jewellery, water hyacinth purses and, in fact, miniature picket rhinos. 

For jeep safaris in Pobitora, contact: 7002261255 / 9859573518.

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