Orang National Park

 Orang National Park (ONP) is located in the alluvial flood plains spread between Darrang and Sonitpur districts in Assam. It is approximately 75 km (46.60 miles) away from Sonitpur and 40 km (24.85 sq miles) away from Darrang in Assam State.

History of the Orang National Park

History of the ONP dates back to the year 1900. The sanctuary area was inhabited by local tribes till the year 1900. British government declared the sanctuary area as Orang Game Reserve on May 31, 1915. Later the Assam state forest department considered orang game reserve for Project Tiger. Government of Assam established the Orang Wildlife Sanctuary in the year 1985 to protect the wildlife present in the sanctuary area. This park was renamed as Rajiv Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary in the year 1992, which was reversed due to public pressure against renaming. Finally, the sanctuary was upgraded to Orang National Park on 13th April 1999 to protect different endangered and critically endangered species of wild animals and birds in India.

Orang National Park
Orang National Park
Orang National Park
Orang National Park
Geographical Location ofONP
Orang National Park is geographically situated in the marshes and grasslands spread on the north bank of Brahmaputra River in Darrang and Sonitpur districts of Assam. This national park spans an area of 78.81 sq km (30.42 sq miles) between Sonitpur and Darrang districts. It is covered by alluvial flood plains spread between Pachnoi River, Belsiri River and Dhansiri River, which border the park and join the Brahmaputra River. ONP area comprise different types of forests categorized as Eastern Himalayan Moist Deciduous Forest covering 15.85 sq km (6.12 sq mi); Eastern Seasonal Swamp Forest covering 3.28 sq km (1.27 sq mi), Eastern Wet Alluvial Grassland covering 8.33 sq km (3.22 sq mi), Savannah Grassland covering 18.17 sq km (7.02 sq mi), Degraded Grassland covering 10.36 sq km (4.00 sq mi), Water body covering 6.13 sq km (2.37 sq mi), Moist Sandy area of 2.66 sq km (1.03 sq mi) and Dry Sandy area of 4.02 sq km (1.55 sq mi) etc. This national park is an integral part of the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot. Orang National Park is also known as mini Kaziranga National Park since the two parks have a similar landscape comprising streams, marshes and grasslands etc.

Flora and Fauna at ONP
Orang National Park comprising alluvial flood plains and forests is a home for different species of wild animals, birds, plants and trees etc. Floristic combination of the ONP comprises rich vegetation of forests, natural forest, and non-aquatic grass/plants. Different species of plants and trees found in the ONP include Bombax ceiba, Dalbergia sissoo, Sterculia villosa, Trewia nudiflora, Zizyphus jujuba and Litsaea polyantha etc. Among the non aquatic grassland species the prominent species found in the park include Phragmites karka, Arundo donax, Imperata cylindrica and Saccharum spp etc. Similarly the aquatic grass/plant species found in the ONP are Andropogon spp, Ipomoea reptans, Enhydra fluctuans, Nymphaea species and Water hyacinth etc.

The Orang National Park contains significant breeding populations of different mammalian species. Different species of fauna found in the park include the royal Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris), Asiatic elephant, pygmy hog, hog deer and wild boar and the great Indian one-horned rhinoceros. Forest biologists spotted 68 one-horned rhinoceros, which is the dominant species of the national park. Other important species of wild animals sharing the habitat in the park include critically endangered and endangered animals. Few of the endangered species found in the park include the pygmy hog and a small wild pig, which is confined to a very few locations in and around northwestern Assam, including the Orang National Park. Other mammalian species found in the park include blind Gangetic dolphin, Indian pangolin, hog deer (Axis porcinus), rhesus macaque, Bengal porcupine, Indian fox, small Indian civet, otter, leopard cat {Prionailurus bengalensis), fishing cat (Felis viverrina) and jungle cat (Felis chaus) etc.

Avian fauna
Ornithologists found occurrence of different species of resident and migrating birds, water birds, predators, scavengers and game birds in the ONP. Different species of birds found in the park include the Bengal florican, a threatened species conserved in the park, 47 families of Anatidae, Accipitridae, Addenda and Ardeiae are found in the park with maximum number of species. Similarly 222 species of birds such as spot-billed pelican (Pelicanus philippensis), great white pelican, black-necked stork (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus), greater adjutant stork (Leptoptilos dubius), lesser adjutant stork (Leptoptilos javanicus), ruddy shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea), gadwall (Anas strepera), brahminy duck, mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), pintail (Anas acuta), hornbills, Pallas’s fish eagle (Haliaeetus leucoryphus), king fisher and woodpecker have been spotted in the park. Migrating bird species spotted in the park include milky American white pelicans also. Visitors can spot 30 to 40 critically endangered species of Bengal floricans (Houbaropsis bengalensis) in the ONP. In addition to the wild animals and birds visitors can spot different species of reptiles also in the park.

Reptiles
There are seven species of turtle and tortoise, out of which turtle varieties such as Lissemys punctata, Kachuga tecta are found in the park. Similarly different species of snakes include pythons and cobras such as Indian rock python, black krait, king cobra, cobra and monitor lizard etc. Marine biologists found occurrence of more than 50 species of fish in the streams and rivers flowing through the park.

Best time to visit ONP
ONP is open throughout the year. But the best time to visit the sanctuary is during the period of November to March. Visitors can have spectacular view of different migrating and resident bird species in the sanctuary. Visitors are advised to get in touch with officials of the sanctuary for complete information on entry timings and fee etc.

Accommodation
Visitors can avail the accommodation facilities provided in the Silbari and Simul bungalow at the entrance of the park. Visitors are advised to get in touch with the authorities of the sanctuary about accommodation, tariff and other facilities.

Contact Address of ONP
Divisional Forest Officer,
Mangaldoi Wildlife Division,
Mangaldoi,
Darrang District,
Assam – 784 125
Phone: +91 3713-230 022

How to reach Orang National Park
By Air: Nearest airport is Tezpur Airport which is approximately 70 km (43.49 miles) away. Bus and taxi services are available to reach the sanctuary.

By Rail:
Nearest Railway Station is Rangapara North Railway Station, which is approximately 70 km (43.49 miles) away. Local buses are available to reach the sanctuary.

By Road: Bus services are available from all places in Assam. Orang Bus Stand is approximately 20 km (12.42 miles) away from the sanctuary. Bus and taxi services are available to reach the sanctuary.