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The Rich Flora and Fauna of Assam’s ‘Deepor Beel’

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By: Arup Deka

Unfortunately, the ‘Deepor Beel’, which is situated in South west of Guwahati city located in Kamrup metropolitan district on the southern bank of Brahmaputra river is now filled with poisonous plastic bags which is degrading the environment. Because of this, the flora and fauna of the ‘Beel’ are under serious threat.

Despite Deepor Beel’s proximity to the sprawling Guwahati city and nearby settlements, the Asian Elephant- Elephas maximus regularly visits the Beel, but the elephants too are in peril due to the railway track that passes through the wetland.

In the nearby Rani and other forested areas, mammals such as Hoolock Gibbon Hylobates hoolock, Assamese Macaque Macaca assamensis, Rhesus Macaque Macaca mulatta, Capped Langur Trachypithecus pileatus, Slow Loris Nycticebus coucang, Leopard Panthera pardus, Jungle Cat Felis chaus, Leopard Cat Prionailurus bengalensis, three species of Civets (Large Indian Viverra zibetha, Small Indian Viverricula indica and Palm Paguma larvata), Mongoose Herpestes sp, Sambar Cervus unicolor, Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak, Chinese Pangolin Manis pentadactyla species are found.

Apart from the fauna, a large variety of aquatic flora of tropical wetland is found in Deepor Beel and its adjoining areas. On one side, it is surrounded with Terminalia belerica, Tectona grandis (plantation), Ficus bengalensis, and Bombax malabaricum as dominant tree species. The Giant Water Lily- Euryale ferox is of considerable botanical and economic importance. Dominant aquatic plants include Eichhornia crassipes, Pistia stratiotes, Ottelia alismoides and Lemna minor.

At present, the number of these species has led to a steep decrease due to heavy urbanisation. This is directly affected the aquatic plant species and other species.

The beel is also under serious threat because of the intervention of both government and other private ventures. On the other hand the NF railway is also constructing a double-track railway through the beel.

The main sources of water of this lake are the Basistha and Kalamoni rivers, and local monsoon run-off between May and September.

The Beel drains into the Brahmaputra river, located about 5 km away. About half of the Beel dries out during the winter and the exposed shores are converted into paddy fields. The southern side of the lake is contiguous with Rani Reserve Forest.

Inside Northeast’s Campaign #LetsSaveDeeporBeel is now supported by Oil India Limited (OIL). Join us as we continue the awareness campaign to preserve the only Ramsar site in Assam which is facing immense threats (A Ramsar site is a wetland site designated to be of international importance under the Ramsar Convention). We need your help to preserve this site of great ecological importance. Join the #LetsSaveDeeporBeel campaign and tweet about it, and do tag us on Twitter. Let’s make some noise!


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