Herd of Swamp deer grazing in Kaziranga

  • 5 years ago
The Barasingha or Swamp deer (Rucervus duvaucelii) is a deer species currently found in isolated localities in north and central India, southwestern Nepal and parts of the eastern tropical forests of Pakistan, where it is regularly sighted and some have also been caught by rangers. It is extinct in Bangladesh. However, the resurgence of the hard ground barasingha in Kanha National Park is one of the most inspiring success stories in the history of wildlife conservation.

Recognized as a sub species of the nominate species of the swamp deer ( Cervus duvauceli duvauceli ) of the sub - Himalayan terai of north India, the hard ground barasingha is a food specialist with a narrow niche, and an exclusively graminvorous deer species, that is, the animal is dependent totally on grasses and grasslands.

In the terai region of India, the exclusive terai saravannas and marshy tall grasslands favour these animals. Although the hard ground sub species has adapted itself to the hard ground conditions of central India, it steill reveals its evolutionary prefrences for swamps and water. The deer in habits grassy areas in moist pockets and never moves far from water. Tall grass cover is extremely essential for its successful bredding.

Hard ground barasingha peacefully interact with chital. Researchers have pointed out common utilization of grasslands by the two species. However, the patterns of utilization differ, reducing their competition for forage. The barasingha shows a preference for quatic plants and often wades into water, frequently dipping its muzzle to feed on water plants. The males wallow in shallow muddy pools during the rutting period in winter.

The binomial commemorates the French naturalist Alfred Duvaucel. The most striking feature of a barasingha is its antlers, with 10 to 14 tines on a mature stag, though some have been known to have up to 20. The name is derived from this characteristic and means 12 tined or horned in Hindi. In Assamese, barasingha is called dolhorina; dol meaning swamp. In Central India it is called goinjak (stags) or gaoni (hinds).

Kaziranga National Park is a national park in the Golaghat and Nagaon districts of the state of Assam, India. A World Heritage Site, the park hosts two-thirds of the world's Great One-horned Rhinoceroses. Kaziranga boasts the highest density of tigers among protected areas in the world and was declared a Tiger Reserve in 2006. The park is home to large breeding populations of elephants, wild water buffalo, and swamp deer. Kaziranga is recognized as an Important Bird Area by Birdlife International for conservation of avifaunal species. Compared to other protected areas in India, Kaziranga has achieved notable success in wildlife conservation. Located on the edge of the Eastern Himalaya biodiversity hotspot, the park combines high species diversity and visibility.

Kaziranga is a vast expanse of tall elephant grass, marshland, and dense tropical moist broadleaf forests, crisscrossed by four major rivers, including the Brahmaputra, and the park includes numerous small bodies of water. Kaziranga has been the theme of several books, songs, and documentaries. The park celebrated its centennial in 2005 after its establishment in 1905 as a reserve forest.

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