The park lies in the
districts of Barpeta and Kokrajhar, 41km north of Barpeta Road township.
It spans the Manas River and is bounded to the north by the international
border with Bhutan, to the south by the populated regions of North Kamrup
and to the east and west by forest reserves. The park, which includes
part of Manas Reserve Forest and all of North Kamrup Reserve Forest,
constitutes the core of Manas Tiger Reserve which lies in the forest
divisions of Kachugaon, Haltugaon, Western Assam Wildlife and North
Kamrup. 26°37'-26°50'N, 90°45'-91°15'E.
DATE AND HISTORY OF ESTABLISHMENT
Manas (previously also known as North Kamrup) was declared a sanctuary on 1 October 1928, parts of it having
been notified as reserved forests in 1907 and 1927. Encroachment
pressures from local people led the government to set aside 809ha from
the sanctuary for a seed farm in 1971. It was established as the core of
the Manas Tiger Reserve with effect from April 1973. Inscribed on the
World Heritage List in 1985 as Manas Sanctuary. The sanctuary was
upgraded to national park status on 7 September 1990, and enlarged from
39,100ha to 50,000ha by the inclusion of the former Panbari, Koklabari
and Kahitama Forest Reserves in the eastern sector (Oliver, 1993: K. Rao
pers. comm., 1995). Placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger in
1992 due to civil unrest and subsequent damage to infrastructure.
AREA The park comprises 50,000ha of the 283,712ha Manas Tiger Reserve.
Contiguous with Royal Manas National Park (65,800ha), Bhutan.
LAND TENURE State
ALTITUDE Ranges from 40m to 150m (Deb Roy, n.d.).
PHYSICAL FEATURES Lying in the foothills of the Outer Himalaya, the area
is low-lying and flat. The Manas River flows through the western portion
of the park, where it splits into three separate rivers, and joins the
Brahmaputra some 64km further south. These and other rivers running
through the tiger reserve carry an enormous amount of silt and rock
debris from the foothills, resulting from the heavy rainfall, fragile
nature of the rock and steepgradients of the catchments. This leads to
the formation of alluvial terraces, comprising deep layers of deposited
rock and detritus overlain with sand and soil of varying depth, shifting
river channels and swamps. The northern portion is represented by the 'Bhabar'
formation, which is very porous due to the deep deposits of coarse
detritus overlain by sandy loam and then a thin layer of humus. The 'Terai'
tract in the south consists of fine alluvial deposits with underlying
pans. Here, the water table lies very near to the surface. The area of
the Boki basin, in the west of the park, is sometimes inundated during
the monsoon but never for very long due to the sloping relief. Mortality
to wildlife is negligible as animals are able to stake refuge on islands
of high ground (Anon., 1974; Deb Roy, n.d.).
CLIMATE The climate is warm and humid (up to 76% relative humidity) with
most rain falling during the monsoon season (May-September). The mean
maximum summer temperature is 37°C and the mean minimum winter
temperature is 11°C. Mean annual rainfall ranges from 3332mm at Batabari
to 4489mm at Kachugaon, based on 11 and 17 years of records,