Department of Environment and Forest


Wildlife Conservation

There are eight Wildlife Sanctuaries, one Orchid Sanctuary and two National Parks in state of Arunachal Pradesh covering an area of 9,488.48 sq km. There is no such threat to protected areas by the dispersed population of the state that is 13 per sq km. Most of the areas are away from any villages and the people of the state are in a habit of living in areas without interfering the conservation projects. Almost all the Protected Areas are in terrain and Inaccessible, which has added more protection to all these protected areas, protected areas like Pakke Wildlife Sanctuary, Namdapha National Park, Kamlang Wildlife Sanctuary and Itanagar Wildlife Sanctuary have fringe human population where activities have initiated by involving the local communities in conservation of wildlife and its habitat. To a species-specific conservation program the state has taken up activities under Project and Project Elephant with the central assistance from Government of India. There are two Tiger project areas namely Namdapha Tiger Reserve and Pakka Tiger Reserve. Tiger being at the apex of the biological pyramid, the management of Tiger provides scope to the conservation and management of Tiger ecology in a holistic manner. The state has also submitted proposals to Government of India to include all the Elephant habit areas in to four elephant reserve that are under active consideration of the GOI. One of the Elephant Reserves has been notified as Kameng. Management of Elephant reserves is the landscape management, which covers more territorial jurisdiction of Elephant habitat and corridors and provides scope to address more areas irrespective of legal status of the land to being under the conservation program. A brief description of some of the protected areas is given to have an idea about the conservation activities of the Arunachal Pradesh in respect of Wildlife management.


Three sympatric hornbill species, the great hornbill (Buceros bicornis), Wreathed hornbill(Aceros undulates) and the Oriential Pied hornbill ( albirostris ), were the focus of a 4 year ecological study in western Arunachal Pradesh. Anecdotal information on the other two species, the Rufous-necked hornbill. (Aceros nipalensis) and the brown hornbill (Anorrhinus austen) was also collected.

1. Austen's Brown hornbill or Brown hornbill (Anorrhinus austeni) (also known as the White-throated brown hornbill, formerly Ptilolaemus tickelli)
DISTRIBUTION: Ranges countries- India, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and south India. In India, restricted to eastern Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. Reported from Namdhapa Tiger Reserve (TR), evidence seen in Jairampur Forest Division in Changlang district, and are lower areas near Deomali and Nakfan in Tirap district. An active nes was seen in Miao RF. Also sighted form areas in Upper Assam in Joypur reserve forest (Kashmira Kakati, pers.Comm.). Tinsukia district and in Cachar Hills (Pawar & Birand, 2001) and from several other reserve forests in upper Assam (Anruddin Chowdury, pers. Comm.). Distribution in other areas of north-east India is inadequately known, though it may occur or have occurred in Nagaland and Manipur (Ali & Ripley 1987).
BODY MASS: Male :933 g, female: 755g (Kemp 1995)
HABITAT: Maxed diet, but largely carnivorous. Arthropods, mollusks and small vertebrates, berries, drupes, capsular fruits of primary forest species belonging to Lauranceae, Meliaceae, Annonaceae and figs (Moraceae).
BREEDING HABITS AND BREEDING SEASON IN ARUNACHAL PRADESH: Monogamous, territorial, co-operative breeder, April to July/August.
GLOBAL CONSERVATION STATUS: Lower risk/near threatened (IUCN 1990)
THREATS IN ARUNACHLA PRADESH AND ASSAM: Extensive habitat loss/modification (especially in Upper Assam and Tirap district) with a naturally restricted and localized range in India, hunting occurs (by Tangsas and Wangchos) but much less thatn other hornbill species. Probably the most threatened of the species in north-east India, in terms of total population in India, since it has restricted distribution and most of its lowland habitat in Assam has been destroyed. Most commonly sighted n Namdapha TR in lowland evergreen forest in the Haldibari-Bulbulia area.

2. ORIENTAL PIED HORNBILL (Anthracoceros albirostris) ( also known as Indian Pied hornbill, earlier wrongly named as Anthracoceros malabaricus) – two ubspecies, the subspecies in India sa A.a. albirostris.
DISTRIBUTION: South Nepal, South Bhutan, north Bangladesh, northern and north-east India, Myanmar, Mergui Archipelago, South China, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and parts of Thailand, north-east penisular Malasia. Possibly overlaps with Malabar Pied hornbill (A. coronatus) in south Bihar, and hill forest of Orissa and West Bengal, no known hybrids.
BODY MASS:Male 738 g, female 624 g (Kemp 1995)
HABITAT:Forest edge, open moist deciduous and evergreen forests, reverie forests, secondary logged forests and even gardens and agricultural fields.
MAJOR DIET:Mixed diet but largely frugivorous. Fruits of secondary forest s species, lianas and of laurnceae, Meliaceae, Myristicaceae and Annonaceae and figs (Moraceae) as well as insects, crabs, small vertebrates.
BREEDING HABITS AND BREEDING SEASON IN ARUNACHAL PRADESH:Monogamous, sometimes territorial, March/April to July.
GLOBAL CONSERVATION STATUS:Not threatened, generally common and widespread distribution, not mentioned in the IUCN red Data Book.
THREATS IN ARUNACHAL PRADESH: Can Survive in somewhat degraded forest, but loss of forest cover especially in lowland foothill forests can cause declines, hunted less than the other three larger species. Common near riverine forests especially in Khari area OF Pakhui National Park (NP).

3. RUFOUS-NECKED HORNBILL (Aceros nipalenis)
DISTRIBUTION: Nepal (believed extinct), north-east India, Bhutan, east Myanmar, north & west Thailand, South China, north Laos and north Vietnam Unconfirmed in Cambodia.
BODY MASS: male 2500 g (Kemp 1995)
MAJOR DIET: Frugovorous, mainly berries, drupes, capsular fruits of primary forest species belonging to Laurecea, Meliaceae, Annonanceae and figs(Moraceae), also some animal matter.
HABITAT:Hill evergreen forest from 500 m up to 2100 m
BREEDING HABITS AND BREEDING SEASON IN ARUNACHAL PRADESH:Monogamous, non--territorial, April to July/August. Mostly sighted in pairs.
GLOBAL CONSERVATION STATUS:Vulnerable, not critically endangered, but faces high risk of the wild in the medium term future (IUCN 2000). The species is rare in most part of it’s range, though in Bhutan it is more common. In India, status is better only in some protected areas of Arunachal Pradesh such as Namdapha TR (Changlang district), Eagle’s nests and Sessa Wildlife Sanctuary (WLS), higher areas in Papum, Doimara RF, East & West Kameng districts, also occurs in Mehao WLS (Dibang Valley district) and Talle Valley WLS (Lower Subansiri district)
THREATS IN ARUNACHAL PRADESH:Habitat loss/conversion/modification due to logging, shifting cultivation, settlements. Rare in most part of Arunachal Pradesh due to both habitat loss and hunting. In eastern Arunachal Pradesh, status better in Namdapha TR and in forest above 800m elevation in western Arunachal Pradesh in East & West Kameng district around Eagle’s WLS and in Khellong Forest Division. In Namdapha TR, commonly sighted even in lower areas near Deban. Haldibari, hornbill camp and Bulbulia. Heavily hunted and prized by several local tribal groups, especially in higher elevation areas, where the great and wreathed hornbills are less commonly seen. Hunted by Nishis, Wanchos,Tangsas, Mishmis, Adis, lisua and Apatani in the sub tropical evergreen forests. Forest loss in possibly a lesser threat for this species, because of the condition and extent of forests at higher elevation in some areas are better than the foothill forests, but hunting is a more serious proximate threat to this species, because the condition and extent of forests at higher elevations in some areas are better than the foothill forests, but hunting is a more serious proximate threat to this species.

4. Wreathed hornbill (Aceros undulates)also know as Bar puched Wreathed Hornbill
Distribution: North-east India, south Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia. Vietnam, Laos, Peninsular Malaysia, Indonesia n Sumatra and Adjacent islands, Java, Bali, Sarawak. Sabha, Brunei, and other smaller islands.
Body mass:Male 2515 g, female 1950 g (kemp 1995)
Major diet:: Frugivorous, mainly berries, drupes, capsular fruits of primary belonging to Lauraceae, Meliaceae, Annonaceae, Myristicaceae and figs Moraceae). Also beetles and crabs.
Habitat: Lowland foothill semi-evergreen and evergreen forest, but also up to 1800m
Breeding habits and breeding season in Arunachal Pradesh:Monogamous, Monogamous, non-territorial March to early August.
Global conservation status: No threatened, not mentioned in IUCN Red Data Book.
Threats in Arunachal Pradesh:Habitat loss/conversion/modification due to logging, shifting cultivation, settlements, more common than the Great hornbill in parts of central and eastern Arunachal Pradesh, but still rare due to both habitat loss and hunting. Status is better in Namdapha TR and in foothill forests of western Arunachal Pradesh, in east and west Kameng district around Pakhui NP and in Khellong Forest Division, but recent extensive habitat loss in adjacent area in Assam has reduced the range. Lowland foothill forests are most important for the species, but flocks of this species move seasonally to higher areas. It can occur in logged forests and plantations near larger intact forests, provided not heavily hunted than the other two large hornbills and relative more common. Local taboos on hunting during the breeding season. (March to July/August) by Nishis in the Seijosa area have probably resulted in reduced hunting pressures for some time in the year in this areas.

5. Great Hornbill (Buceros bicornis) (also known earlier as Great Pied or the Great Indian hornbill)
Distribution:Disjunct distribution in India – in Western Ghats, and from Himalayan foothills in Uttranchal, to south Nepal, Bhutan and north-east India. Myanmar and some islands in the Mergui archipelago, South china, Bhutan and north-east India. Myanmar and some islands in the Mergui archipelago, South china, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand peninsular Malaysia and several adjacent island, an isolated population in Indonesia on Sumatra.
Body mass: male 3007 g, female 2211 g (Kemp 1995)
Major diet: Largely frugivorous, but also a predator especially during the breeding season, taking birds, reptiles, and small mammals such as rats and flying squirrels. Figs from the major diet, followed by berries, drupes and capsular fruits of Lauraceae, Melaieeae ,Myristicaceae and Annonaceae.
Habitat: Primary evergreen forest and deciduous forest, mainly on lowland plains but can extend up to 2000m. Also seen in selectively logged forests and plantations close to larger forested tracts.
Breeding habitat and breeding season in Arunachal Pradesh:Monogamous, territorial, March to July.
Global conservation status:Lower risk/near threatened (IUCN 1990)
Threats in Arunachal Pradesh:Habitat loss/ conversion/ modification ( due to logging shifting cultivation, settlements), rare to locally extinct in parts of central and eastern Arunachal Pradesh, due to both habitat loss and hunting. Status better in Namdapha TR and especially in foothills forest of western Arunachal Pradesh in east & west Kameng district around Pakhui NP and in Khellong Forest Division, but recent extensive habitat loss in adjacent areas in Assam has reduced the range. Lowland foothill forests are most important for the species. Can occur in logged forests and plantations near to larger intact forest, provided not heavily hunted and if the habitat is not subjected to further degradation. This species is the most heavily Hunted and prized hornbill species by several local tribal groups. Local taboos on hunting during the breeding season (March to July/August) by Nishis in the Seijosa area have probably resulted in reduced hunting pressures for some time in the year in this area.

Observation on Lesser Cats

In the Namdapha National park, following lesser cats have been from the direct sighting by the forest officers and researchers time to time.

Leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis): The present day status of fishing cat in Arunachal Pradesh can be marked as rare. (A.K. Chatterjee and A.K. Sen, 1983). The fishing cat is distinguished from the leopard cat be its much larger size and shorter tail, which is lesser than half the length of its head and body. This cat is short in limb and rather stout in build. Its body markings consist of series of cognate spots arranged in more or less longitudinal rows. The lower parts of the body are spotted and the tail is more or less distinctly ringed with black. Itsinhabits forests upto 5000ft. However, in Arunachal Pradesh this animal is reported form 250 msl to 150 msl. This animal is mostly found near streams, river and swampy areas.Best habitat of this cat in Namdpha is at Farmbase and Embeong area as second auther has seen the animal twice while conducting tiger census in the year 1991. This is seen along noa-dihing river side also. The main food habit of this animal is fish. Besides, it preys on any small animal and birds. Its habitat consists of grassy belt with scattered shelter trees. The main floristic composition comprises of Alpinia spp, Imperata grass, phagmites, karka and tree species of Albizia, etc. The coat of this cat is golden brown to dark brown red or grey when the cat is short and smooth as in summer. There may be a more or less distinct pattern of grayish lines on the flanks and shoulders.Most conspicuous is a horizontal white or buff cheek stripe, sometimes edges with black, running from below the eye to behind the gape on the inner side of the eye. There is always white stripe which bifurcates above and is continuous with a more or less distinct grayish stripe passing on to the crown. Distribution is recorded from 400m to 2000 msl (A.k. Chatterjee and A.K. Sen, 1983). In Namdapha the first author has seen this cat at lower belt. Because of the shifting cultivation and deforestation, this cat is confined to protected areas, only. The main prey of this cat is poultry, sheep, goats and small mammals and birds.

Marbled cat (Pardofelis Marmorata):This general pattern on the coat of this cat consists of strips on the crown, neck and back of large and small blotches, called marbling on the flanks, and of spots on the underside of the limbs and on the tail. The marbled pattern on the flank is variable even in individuals inhabiting the same region. The trail is darker in tune and its pattern is obscurely defined. Though much smaller in size, the marble cats resembles the clouded leopard in colour and pattern so that young clouded leopards are easily confused with the marbled cat. Distribution is recorded at Nepal, Sikkim, Assam extending to Burma and Malayan countries. In Arunachal Pradesh, it is recorded between 250 to 2000 msl. (A.K. Chatterjee and A.K. Sen, 1983). This cat is arboreal inhabitat. As per local information, the sighting of this cat is very rare. However, the first author has seen its in Namdapha at 34th mile. Besides, some of the forest, some of the forest executive officials have also seen this cat inside Namdapha Tiger Reserve. Its habitat consists of sub-tropical evergreen, semievrgreen forest etc. The main food habit is rats, squirrel, birds, etc. (S.H. Prater, 1980).

Jungle cat (Felis chaus)With its long leg and comparatively short tail the jungle cat has a very distinctive appearance. Its pale green eyes give it a coldly cruel expression. The colour of its fur varies from sandy grey to yellowish grey. The tail is ringed with black towards the end and has a black tip. The paws are pale yellowish, black or sooty brown underneath. The ears are reddish ending in a small pedicle of black hairs. The underside of the body is paler. Distribution of this cat rangs from North Africa to Asia, Ceylon, Myanmar and Indo- China. In Namdapha, it is common as the asme has been seen by the second author and many forest executive officials while carrying out field observations. It preys on small mammals, birds and poultry (S. H. Prater, 1980).

Wild Dogs:

INTRODUCTION: Likely domestic dog in appearance, the wild dog is with the long, lanky body of the wolf, but relatively shorter in leg and muzzle. The ears are more rounded at the tip and the tail quite bushy. Wild dogs rely mainly on sight while hunting. Hunting done in cooperative way. They feed on wild berried, insects, lizards and on mammals ranging in the size from rodents to deer. Hunting success depends on the ability to choose young or weak animals, often selected from among the herd that can be over hauled in a straight chase. Normally all adults present share the kill, but adult will stand aside to let any pups present eat first. About once a year often at a time of relative food abundance the dominant female is a noted by dominated male. The female selects den usually pre-existing hole and pups are born blind and weighting about 400gm. Dholes are sexually mature at about one year. Pups leave the den of 70-80days; if the site is disturbed earlier, the pups will be moved to another hidden place. The pack continues to care for the pups by regurgitating meat, providing escort and allowing pups priority of access at kills. A dhole pack numbers were recorded. Dhole calls include whines, growls, whistles and squaks by the pups. Dhole hunts by scant. Their system of attacking is from different direction. Wild dogs have been recorded in the Shara and in the snow of mount Killimanijard at 5,600 m.
Observation:This deals a sambar fawn hunt and partially eaten by wild dog (Dhole). The incident happened near Deban on Noa-Dehing river bank. On 23rd September/2000 at 9.15 am while watching the birds near Deban Forest rest House, suddenly it was seen that an adult sambar hind with fawn came out running from jungle (Lankai area) and jumped on Noa-Dehing river. Immediately, after few minutes it was observed that a pack of wild dogs consisting 5 – 6 started chasing the fawn, attacked on the fawn from different directions and dragged to the side of the river bank. Soon after the kill was dragged to the river side, a large number of wild dogs consisting 15 numbers (approx.) came out from the jungle and attacked the kill from different directions (another characteristic feature of wild dog). After a couple of hours, moved to the spot for physical verification. Though observations of the kill was done seen that the half portion of the kill was already consumed by 22 numbers of wild dogs (counted from binocular) and sex determined was female. The kill was left without touching and disturbing. The only thing we did was that, we washed out the pugmark of the wild dog from the kills surrounding to observe whether the same predator come to consume the meat or any other scavenger. On the next day morning i.e. on 24th September, 2000 it was seen that the kill was not eaten by wild dong.However, the pugmark of a jackal, and other scavengers were seen, and 80% of the meat was consumed over a night. In the time it is seen that a flock crow and consumed the meat. A photo No 1 & 2 showing brutal type of killing and eating by wild dog is enclosed herewith.
CONCLUSION:From the above report it is clear that a quite large number of wild dogs (Dhole) present in Namdapha National park. Another peculiar characteristic of this animal is that their system of killing the prey is very brutal and painful as the wild dogs always attack and kill the prey in an organized manner and consume the meet from different parts of the body. Authors had seen this type of killing the prey in many occasions earlier in Namdapha National Park. This system killing the prey is not adopted by any other predators.

Department of Forests & Environment, Government of Arunachal Pradesh.
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