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Survey Uncovers New Findings in Herpetofauna Realm at Kaziranga National Park

The survey highlighted several remarkable species, including the Striped Caecilian, a newly discovered limbless amphibian; the Reed Frog, found exclusively in grassland habitats; the Kaziranga Bent-toed Gecko, endemic to the region; the King Cobra, India's largest venomous snake; and the Black Softshell Turtle, a rare and endangered species.

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HT Digital

GUWAHATI, June 20: Encouraging discoveries have emerged from a swift survey conducted between June 14 and 17, 2024, at Kaziranga National Park. Notably, the survey marks the first documented observation of the Striped Caecilian (Ichthyophis spp.).

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The success of the survey was enthusiastically celebrated by the Chief Minister of Assam’s office on various social media platforms. The caption accompanying the post read, “Amazing Kaziranga, awesome Assam—highlighting recent discoveries of unique herpetofauna species.” This underscores the park’s rich biodiversity and ongoing conservation efforts.

The survey highlighted several remarkable species, including the Striped Caecilian, a newly discovered limbless amphibian; the Reed Frog, found exclusively in grassland habitats; the Kaziranga Bent-toed Gecko, endemic to the region; the King Cobra, India’s largest venomous snake; and the Black Softshell Turtle, a rare and endangered species.

 

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Alongside the survey, a training and sensitization program was organized to enhance the expertise and awareness of forest personnel in identifying and conserving herpetofauna. The program focused on practical training, field surveys, and discussions on snake rescue and prevention of snake bites during monsoon patrols.

Furthermore, a photographic checklist of reptiles and amphibians found in Kaziranga was unveiled, contributing to a deeper understanding and appreciation of the park’s diverse ecosystem.

The study received support from renowned experts in herpetofauna, including Dr. Saibal Sengupta from Assam Don Bosco University, Dr. Abhijit Das from Wildlife Institute of India, Dr. Rajeev Basumatary and Dr. Samrat Sengupta from D.R. College, Golaghat, Dr. Jaydev Mandal from Madhab Choudhury College, Barpeta, Dr. Jayaditya Purkayastha from Help Earth, Dr. Jayanta Kumar Roy from Aaranyak, and Sushmita Kar from Turtle Survival Alliance-Foundation. Their collaboration not only led to the discovery of new species but also emphasized the importance of herpetofauna conservation.

The monsoon season brings a lively atmosphere to Kaziranga National Park, resonating with the melodious calls of frogs—an integral part of the park’s diverse herpetofauna. Despite being understudied, these reptiles and amphibians play crucial roles as environmental indicators, pest controllers, and contributors to biodiversity.

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