Birds of India

Pakke Tiger Reserve

Checklist I Trip Report



Introduction
Pakke Tiger Reserve lies in the foothills of the Eastern Himalaya in the East Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh. Pakke is bounded by the Kameng river in the west and the Pakke river in the east. The Nameri Tiger Reserve is contiguous with Pakke and runs along the south. The north is bounded by the Papu river and high mountain ranges. Pakke is surrounded by key protected areas which include the Doimara Reserve Forest, Papum Reserve Forest, Sessa Orchid Sanctuary and Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary – all falling within the Eastern Himalaya Biodiversity Hotspot. The area is rugged and mountainous with peak altitude at 2,000 meters (6,600 ft) metres above msl .The total area under the sanctuary is roughly 862 square kilometers.

Bio-geographic zones
Pakke falls in the Eastern Himalayan province of the Himalayan bio-geographic zone and is situated at the junction of the Palaearctic and Indo-Malayan zoogeographic realms. The ecoregion is characterized by wide gradients in elevation and high rainfall resulting in a variety of forest types, which is home to a rich mix of plant and animal life, and is a biodiversity hotspot.

Forest types
The area is covered with lowland semi-evergreen, evergreen forest and Eastern Himalayan broadleaf forests. According to Champion and Seth (1968), forest types include Assam valley tropical semi evergreen forests, Sub Himalayan light alluvial semi evergreen forests, Eastern Hollock Forests, Upper Assam valley tropical evergreen forests, Tropical riverine forests and Secondary moist bamboo tracts.
These forests are characterized by the following species: Terminalia myriocarpa, Ailanthus excelsa, Duabanga grandiflora, Canarium resiniferum, Trewia nudiflora, Tetrameles nudiflora, Sterculia villosa, Macropanax dispermus, Syzygium macrocarpum, Garcinia indica, Quercus lamellosa, Castanopsis indica, Phoebe goalparensis, Amora wallichii, Ailanthus grandis, Pterospermum acerifolium, Dillenia indica, Artocarpus chaplasha, Bischofia javanica, Albizia procera and Bombax ceiba.
Bamboo species include Dendrocalamus hamiltonii, Bambusa pallida and pseudostachym species.

Bird Life
Pakke is bird-rich and boasts about 300 species of birds. The pride of Pakke are the four hornbill species found here. The most abundant is the Wreathed Hornbill, although the Oriental Pied is also present in good numbers. The Great and Rufous-necked are rarer. Pakke also hosts the globally threatened White-winged Duck amongst other good birds like Jerdon's Baza, Pied Falconet, White-cheeked Hill-partridge, Ibisbill, Blue-naped Pitta, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Asian Fairy Bluebird, Green Cochoa, Crow-billed Drongo, Ruddy Kingfisher, Long-billed Plover, shortwings, cuckoos, forktails and other specialities.


Jerdon's Baza
Birdwatching in Pakke is a bit of a mixed bag. Despite the protection afforded by the people and authorities, small game hunting is common and the birds are, as a result, wary and difficult to see well. Things improve inside the forest, but walking trails is risky without armed escorts. This limits the birding potential a bit. But it would be very rare for any birder to return from Pakke without seeing some great birds!


Black-crested Bulbul
60 mammal species are known to occur here. These include the tiger, common leopard, leopard, Asiatic black bear and wild dog. Elephants are common.

People
The Nyishi or Nishi people inhabit the Pakke area. Their language is said to belong to the Sino-Tibetan family. The main occupation is agriculture using the shifting cultivation method. Traditionally, Nyishi plait their hair and tie it in a bundle at the forehead. Metal skewers are placed horizontally and pass through the bundle. Every year, from 24th to 27th of February, Nyokum yullo, the harvest festival is celebrated by the Nyishi tribe and provides a window to experience the local tradition and customs.


Nyishi GaonBura

Places to visit in Pakke
Langka Forest Rest House (FRH) – a beautiful place close to Seijosa where you can view wildlife in comfort.
Khari FRH – Located deep inside Pakke, this is an idyllic place providing a birds-eye-view of Khari river and the forests surrounding it. The Rest House itself is great for birdwatching.
Upper Dikorai FRH – Further west from Khari, the drive through the forest is an adventure! The location of the Rest House provides an excellent view of Pakke.


View from Langka FRH
Where to stay
Pakke Jungle Camp - The camp is a community-based tourism initiative jointly implemented and run by Help Tourism and the local tribal self-help conservation group named Ghora-Aabhe. Very basic, the Camp gives you a true wildlife experience.
You can also stay at the Langka, Khari and Upper Dikorai FRH's, but food has to be carried.
Hotels and tourist lodges are available in Bhalukpong. In addition, accommodation is available on prior booking at the Tipi Forest Rest house, 4 km away from Bhalukpong.

Entry and travel
An Inner Line Permit (Indians) or Restricted Area Permit (Foreigners) is required for entry into Arunachal Pradesh. At the Seijosa entry gate, the Inner Line Permit needs to be procured for East Kameng district, while for the Bhalukpong entry gate this permit needs to be obtained for West Kameng district.


Road: Seijosa is approximately 250 kms from Guwahati and 50 kms from Tezpur. The main access is through Soibari, which is on the NH-52. The village of Seijosa is a two hour drive from Soibari over poor roads.
Railway station: Soibari 36 km, Biswanath Charali 47 km and Rangapara 60 km.
Airport: Guwahati International Airport - 250kms. Tezpur Airport - 50kms.


Pakke hills from Seijosa

Key Facts and figures
Area: 861.95 sq. km.
Altitudinal range: 150 - 1500 m asl
Location: Between 26°54' - 27°16' N and 92°36' - 93°09' E
Average annual rainfall: 2500 mm
Temperatures: High 37C; Low 12C. Winter November - February.
Forest Department:
The Divisional Forest Officer (DFO)
Pakke Wildlife Sanctuary and Tiger Reserve
Seijosa, East Kameng district – 790103; Arunachal Pradesh.
Email: dfopakke@gmail.com
Phone: (03778) 200016, 200014.
Nearby attractions: Nameri National park, Tipi Orchid Research Centre and Bichum reservoir.

Best season: November to March

References/Sources:
Pakke Tiger Reserve Official site
Wikipedia page
Sanctuary Asia:
Pakke – 'Where There's A Bill'
Help Tourism site

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