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Location India, Assam
Central coordinates 92o 23.30' East  26o 38.30' North
IBA criteria A1, A4ii
Area 7,881 ha
Altitude 40 - 50m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society



Site description Orang National Park is well known as an important habitat the Indian One-horned Rhinoceros Rhinoceros unicornis. The Park lies 18 km off the national highway from Orang town and 15 km off the highway from Dhansirimukh town. The distance from Guwahati to Orang is 140 km. The Park is situated on the northern bank of the Brahmaputra river. The Pachnoi and Dhansiri rivers flow along its eastern and western boundaries respectively. Both these rivers are tributaries of the Brahmaputra. The terrain is flat, being the floodplain of these rivers. Two distinct alluvial terraces are found: the lower Orang of more recent origin along the river Brahmaputra and the older upper Orang to its north, separated by a high bank traversing the National Park from east to west. Orang was earlier a pure alluvial grassland, probably maintained by grazing and fire by villagers. In 1915, it was declared a Game Reserve. The villagers deserted the area due to an epidemic. In 1932, plantation of fast growing local species such as Albizzia procera and Lagerstroemia flosreginae was started and some parts of the Reserve were denotified in 1928 to settle farmers from the erstwhile East Bengal under the Grow-More-Food programme. Intensive plantation was started in 1962. Along with the earlier planted local species, Dalbergia sissoo, Acacia catechu, Tectona grandis, Artocarpus chaplasha, Terminalia spp., Gmelina arborea and Bombax ceiba were planted. In 1969, Professional Grazing Reserve (PGR) areas east of the River Pachnoi were included in the Game Reserve. Mainly established to save the highly endangered Rhinoceros, the grasslands of the Park also support healthy populations of the Swamp Francolin Francolinus gularis and Bengal Florican Houbaropsis bengalensis. Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus and Pallas’s Fish-Eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus nest in the Park (Rahmani et al. 1990). There is also a recent record of sighting of the Bristled Grass-Warbler Chaetornis striatus (Choudhury 2000). At one time, Orang was one of the finest representatives of natural wet, alluvial grasslands of the floodplains of the Brahmaputra river (much like Kaziranga). Even now, more than 60% of the Park is under grasses such as Arundo donax, Imperata cylindrica, Saccharum spp., Cynodon dactylon, Phragmites karka and Andropogon spp. Natural forest constitutes only 2.6%, while planted forest covers 13.6% of this Park. Waterbodies (beels) and swamps constitute about 12% of the area.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Swamp Francolin Francolinus gularis resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Baer's Pochard Aythya baeri winter  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Greater Adjutant Leptoptilos dubius breeding  2004  present  A1  Endangered 
Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis resident  2004  present  A1  Near Threatened 
White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Slender-billed Vulture Gyps tenuirostris non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Pallas's Fish-eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Bengal Florican Houbaropsis bengalensis resident  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Bristled Grassbird Chaetornis striata resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Yellow Weaver Ploceus megarhynchus resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Orang National Park 7,881 is identical to site 7,881  

Habitats

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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research -
Notes: Conservation
tourism/recreation -
Notes: Tourism and recreation

Acknowledgements Key contributors: Bhupen Talukdar, Anwaruddin Choudhury and Asad R. Rahmani.

References 

Ahmed, M. F. (2002) Amphibians of Northeast India. The Rhino Foundation for nature in NE India Newsletter 4: 15-16.

BirdLife International (2003) Saving Asia’s Threatened Birds: A Guide for Government and Civil Society. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Choudhury, A. U. (2000) The Birds of Assam. Gibbon Books & WWFIndia NE Region, Guwahati.

Rahmani, A. R., Narayan, G., Rosalind, L. and Sankaran, R. (1990) Status of the Bengal Florican in India. In: Status and Ecology of the Lesser and Bengal Floricans, with reports on Jerdon’s Courser and Mountain Quail. Final Report. Bombay Natural History Society. Pp. 55-78.

Talukdar, B. N. and Sharma, P. (1995) Checklist of the Birds of Orang Wildlife Sanctuary. Privately distributed. Guwahati.

Stattersfield, A. J., Crosby, M. J., Long, A. J. and Wege, D. C. (1998) Endemic Bird Areas of the World: Priorities for Biodiversity Conservation. BirdLife Conservation Series No. 7. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Orang National Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 10/07/2014

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