Wild Places We Go

India’s Nameri National Park

nameri national park

Picturesque Nameri National Park was not officially established until November of 1998 (although it began to receive some degree of protection as early as 1978).

Access to Nameri is from Potasali, 2km off the Tezpur-Bhalukpong road. So, in other words, it is on the border of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh

nameri-map-india

According to the government of India, the following are some of the species that can be found within Nameri (I’m quoting directly and so the Indian government is responsible for the misspellings and grammar mistakes rather than me):

Flora:

The habitat of Nameri is made up of tropical evergreen, Semi-evergreen, moist deciduous forests with cane and bamboo brakes and narrow strips of open grassland along rivers. Grassland comprise of less than 10% of the total area of the park.This semi-evergreen and moist mixed deciduous forests has over 600 species. Some notable species are Gamari, Titachopa, Amari, Bogipoma, Ajar, Urium poma, Bhelou, Agaru, Rudraksha, Bonjolokia, Hatipolia akhakan, ahollock, Nahor, Siya Nahar, Simul, Bonsum etc. Orchoids include Dendrobium, Cymbidium, Ladies Sleeper etc. Tree Fern, Lianas, creepers are some of the specialties of this forests.

Key plant species include: Albizzia lucida, Albizzia procera, Amoora wallichii, Artocarpus chaplasha, Baccaurea sapida, Bischofia javanica, Bombax ceiba, Canarium strictum, Castanopsis indica, Cordia dichotoma, Cinnamomum cecicodaphnea, Dendrocalamus hamiltonii, Dillenia indica, Duabanga grandiflora, Duabanga sonneratoides, Dysoxylum procerum, Endospermum chinense, Lagerstroemia flos-reginae, Litsea sebifera, Mesua ferrea, Morus roxburghii, Premna bengalensis, Pseudostachyum polymorphum, Pterospermum acerifolium, Sapium baccatum, Shorea assamica, Sterculia hamiltonii, Syzygium cumini, Terminalia citrina, Terminalia myriocarpa, Trewia nudiflora and Vatica lanceaefolia.

Fauna:

Nameri is also extremely rich in faunal resources. Over 30 species of mammals have been recorded here and the park is an important conservation area for tigers and elephants. Others animals are Leopard, Black Panther, Clouded Leopard, Lesse Cats, Sloth Bear, Himalayan Black Bear, Indian Bison, Dhol, Sambar, Barking Deer, Dog Deer, Fox, Hispid Hare, Indian Hare, Capped Langur, Slow Loris, Assamese Macaque, Rhesus Macaque, Himalayan Yellow Throated Martin, Malayan Giant Squirrel, Flying Squirrel, Wild Pig etc.

Bird life is varied and abundant with nearly 315 species finding their way into an ever-expanding checklist. Nameri’s most important avian residents are the White-winged Ducks. Nameri National Park is also called the last house of White winged Wood Duck. This is the most prized and most significant finding. A sizeable population is known to affect the forest pools here and they form an important core of the Indian population of the remaining 150 odd pairs of this highly endangered species.

Other key birds include White-cheeked Partridge, Great, Wreathed and Rufous-necked Hornbills, Ruddy, Blue-eared, and Oriental Dwarf Kingfishers, Oriental Hobby, Amur Falcon, Jerdon’s and Black Baza, Pallas’s, Grey-headed and Lesser-headed Fish Eagles, Silver-backed Needletail, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Blue-naped Pitta, Slender-billed Oriole, Hill Blue Flycatcher, White-crowned Forktail, Sultan Tit, Large Whistling Teal, Black-bellied Oriole, Hill-blue flycatcher, White-crowned forktail, Sultan Tit, Black bellied Tern, Jerdon’s Babbler, Rufous-backed Sibia, Yellow-bellied Flower pecker, Red-throated Pipit, Long-billed Plover, Black Stork King Vulture, Long-billed Ring Plover, Khallej Pheasant, Hill Myna , Pin tailed green Pigeon, Himalayan pied Kingfisher, Three-toed kingfisher, Fairly Blue Bird, Common Mergernser, etc.

This is also an abode of Reptiles. King cobra, cobra, Pit Viper, Russel Viper, Banded Krait, Python, Rat Snake, Assam Roof Turtle, Malayan Box Turtle, Keeled Box turtle, Asian Leaf Turtle, Narrow Headed soft Shelled Turtle, Indian soft Shelled Turtle also live here.

Golden Mahseer, Shaort gilled Mahseer, Silghoria are a few of the fishes found in waters of the Park.

The park is, unfortunately, under heavy pressure from the agricultural activities of humans. Farms, hacked out of the jungle, are beginning to encircle Nameri and a herd of over 3,000 cattle now move freely throughout the park:

nameri-national-park

That said, it is still a nice park to visit as a walk at dawn to the idyllic Bharali riverbank, above which rise horizons of forested foothills crowned by a line of white-topped horizon peaks, should convince one:

nameri-national-park

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There is a nice place to stay at the park as well – Potasali’s Eco-Camp. You can do it yourself, but if you like to have your hand held, these guys can organize any Nameri visits or activities, including two-hour ornithological rafting trips.

Accommodation is in “tents”, but colorful fabrics, private bathrooms, sturdy beds and thatched-roof shelters make the experience relatively luxurious. And there’s an atmospheric open-sided restaurant.

nameri-map

The grounds of the Eco-Camp surrounded by the jungle:

nameri national park

And a view of one of the “tents” available:

nameri national park

It is pleasant to sit out on the deck in the evenings and to watch the world go by since all of the camp is situated in an inward-facing circle. And, of course, the staff are always on hand to bring you a cool drink of your choice.

The Eco-Camp has some quality dogs as well. This one joined me on the 1.3 km walk to the Bharali riverbank at dawn:

nameri national park

She seemed to take great personal offense at any cattle we encountered in the park and would aggressively harass them until they started moving out of Nameri. Her barking probably scared away any animals I might have encountered (although I did catch a glimpse of an elephant), but her cause was a good one and I welcomed her company.

The Nameri Eco-camp is owned by the Assam Bhoroli Angler’s Association and offers twin-bedded huts with attached toilets.

Address:

Potasali, Torajan Village, P.O. Gamani, Dist.: Sonitpur, Pin- 784103

Contact:

Camp Director, Eco-camp, Potasali (Nameri Tiger Reserve), Sonitpur district, Assam. Ph: 09854019932, 094351-45563/094352-50025

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To contact an Indian government official directly connected to Nameri:

The Divisional Forest Officer,
Western Assam Wildlife Division,
Dolabari, P.O. Tezpur,
Sonitpur District, Assam
Tel.- 03712-268054
E-mail: ripman@gwi.vsnl.net.in

or

Range Officer,
Nameri Wildlife Range,
Potasali,
Sonitpur District, Assam
Tel.-03714-270558(O)

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