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Location India, Assam
Central coordinates 93o 21.50' East  26o 28.00' North
IBA criteria A1
Area 31,781 ha
Altitude 80 - 500m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description This site includes two protected areas in Karbi Anglong district namely, East Karbi Anglong Wildlife Sanctuary (22,181 ha) and North Karbi Anglong Wildlife Sanctuary (9,600 ha), which are contiguous. The latter sanctuary connects the former with the world famous Kaziranga National Park (also an IBA), a link that is vital for the wild Asian Elephants Elephas maximus. Although the area was proposed as a single protected area as ‘North Karbi Anglong Wildlife Sanctuary’ (Choudhury 1992a, 1992b; Choudhury 1993), the authorities were compelled to declare two separate sanctuaries. While the Mikir Hills reserve forest area has been notified as ‘East Karbi Anglong WLS, the unclassified and community forests to the north is known as ‘North Karbi Anglong WLS’. In the latter area, rights and concessions of the settlers have to be considered as the area falls under community forests. This area is a part of Kaziranga- Karbi Anglong Elephant Reserve. The elevation of the larger part of the proposed reserve is 200- 300 msl. Kaliyoni and Diffolu rivers originate from these forests, which have numerous perennial streams. The forest type is mainly Tropical Semi-evergreen with patches of Tropical Moist Deciduous. Large tracts under bamboo cover can be seen in parts of North Karbi Anglong Sanctuary due to jhum (slash-and-burn shifting cultivation practiced by hill tribes). Abandoned jhums are covered with various grasses such as Themeda villosa and Saccharum procerum, and scrub. In the depressions, Alpinia allughas herb, and Arundo donax and Neyraudia reynaudiana grasses (both are called Nal) occur.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: A rich and diverse bird life exists in the area. About 200 species have been recorded, while there would be more than 350 (A. U. Choudhury pers. comm. 2002). The White-winged Duck Cairina scutulata has been reported from Kaliyoni area that lies east of East Karbi Anglong WLS (Gee 1958), however, there is no recent report. There are four species of Hornbills, the Oriental Pied Anthracoceros albirostris, Great Pied Buceros bicornis, Wreathed Aceros undulatus and Rufous-necked Aceros nipalensis. Brown Hornbill Anorrhinus tickelli has been reported, but that needs verification. The Rufous-necked Hornbill is extremely rare and it is not known whether it is resident in the area or moves in during winter from Barail Range. The Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus is seen at the edge of North Karbi Anglong WLS and occasionally in the valley of Langlokso, near East Karbi Anglong WLS. The Oriental White-backed Vulture Gyps bengalensis and Slender-billed Vulture G. tenuirostris are still seen in small numbers in the northern areas of North Karbi Anglong WLS. The Vulnerable Purple Wood or Pale-capped Pigeon Columba punicea occurs in the Sanctuaries. The site falls in Biome-9 (Indo-Chinese Tropical Moist Forests), according to the classification of BirdLife International (undated). Important biome species of this site are: Whitecheeked Hill Partridge Arborophila atrogularis, Grey Peacock Pheasant Polyplectron bicalcaratum, Black-backed Forktail Enicurus immaculatus, Himalayan Golden-backed Woodpecker Dinopium shorii, Crow-billed Drongo Dicrurus annectans, Necklaced Laughingthrush Garrulax moniligerus, Blackgorgeted Laughingthrush G. pectoralis, Rufous-necked Laughingthrush G. ruficollis and Sultan Tit Melanochlora sultanea.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: This IBA site is exceptionally rich in mammalian fauna. Seven species of primates, i.e., Hoolock Gibbon Hylobates hoolock, Capped Langur Trachypithecus pileatus, Rhesus Macaque Macaca mulatta, Pig-tailed Macaque M. nemestrina, Assamese Macaque M. assamensis, Stump-tailed Macaque M. arctoides and Slow Loris Loris tardigradus, occur (Choudhury 1996). Other mammals include the Asian Elephant Elephas maximus, Tiger Panthera tigris, Leopard P. pardus, Sloth Bear Melursus ursinus, Clouded Leopard Neofelis nebulosa, Leopard Cat Prionailurus bengalensis, Jungle Cat Felis chaus, Dhole or Wild Dog Cuon alpinus, Asiatic Black Bear Ursus thibetanus, Malayan Sun Bear Helarctos malayanus, Gaur Bos frontalis, Serow Nemorhaedus sumatraensis, Sambar Cervus unicolor, Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak, and Malayan Giant Squirrel Ratufa bicolor.

During floods in Kaziranga, the Sloth Bear, Rhinoceros Rhinoceros unicornis, Wild Water Buffalo Bubalus arnee (= bubalis), Hog Deer Axis porcinus and occasionally the Swamp Deer Cervus duvaucelii take shelter in North Karbi Anglong WLS.

The diversity of reptiles is poorly known. The Brown Tortoise Manouria emys, Indian Rock Python Python molurus and King Cobra Ophiophagus hannah are found, along with other snake species.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
White-winged Duck Asarcornis scutulata resident  2004  present  A1  Endangered 
Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Slender-billed Vulture Gyps tenuirostris non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Pale-capped Pigeon Columba punicea resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Rufous-necked Hornbill Aceros nipalensis resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 

IBA Monitoring

2003 low not assessed not assessed
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - shifting agriculture happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) very rapid to severe deterioration low
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Biological resource use logging & wood harvesting - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
East Karbi Anglong Sanctuary 22,181 protected area contained by site 22,181  
Karbi Anglong Sanctuary 9,600 protected area contained by site 9,600  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest   -
Wetlands (inland)   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
Notes: Cultivation, including jhum
forestry -
Notes: Forestry

Acknowledgements Key contributor: Anwaruddin Choudhury.


Choudhury, A. U. (1996) Survey of primates in some parts of eastern and central Assam. Final Report to ASTEC, Guwahati. 32pp.+ maps.

Choudhury, A. U. (1992a) Dhansiri Tiger Reserve. A proposal submitted to the Karbi Anglong District Council and Government of India. 8pp. + map.

Choudhury, A. U. (1992b) Singhason Biosphere. A proposal submitted to the Karbi Anglong District Council and Government of India. 6pp. + map.

Choudhury, A. U. (1993) A naturalist in Karbi Anglong. Gibbon Books, Guwahati.

Gee, E. P. (1958) sThe present status of the White-winged Wood Duck Cairina scutulata. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 55: 569-574.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: East and North Karbi Anglong Wildlife Sanctuaries. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016

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